INTRODUCTION WHAT IS A SOLAR VEHICLE ?A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely or significantly by direct solarenergy. Usually, photovoltaic (PV) cells contained in solar panels convert the sun’s energydirectly into electric energy. The term "solar vehicle" usually implies that solar energy is usedto power all or part of a vehicles propulsion. Solar power may be also used to provide powerfor communications or controls or other auxiliary functions.Solar vehicles are not sold as practical day-to-day transportation devices at present, but areprimarily demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises, often sponsored by governmentagencies. However, indirectly solar-charged vehicles are widespread and solar boats areavailable commercially.
SOLAR CAR Solar cars depend on PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity to drive electric motors. Unlike solar thermal energy which converts solar energy to heat, PV cells directly convert sunlight into electricity. EXAMPLE -Ned, constructed in 1999 by the South Australian Solar Car Consortium, can speed up to 120 km/h. The design of a solar car is severely limited by the amount of energy input into the car. Solar cars are built for solar car races. Even the best solar cells can only collect limited power and energy over the area of a cars surface. This limits solar cars to a single seat, with no cargo capacity, and ultra light composite bodies to save weight. Solar cars lack the safety and convenience features of conventional vehicles.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Electric vehicle conversion and Aftermarket kit The Venturi Astrolab in 2006 was hailed as the worlds firstcommercial electro-solar hybrid car, and it was originally due to be released in January 2008. Toyota Prius uses solarcells to generate up to 240 watts of electrical power in full sunshine. This is reported as permitting up to 15 kmextra range on a sunny summer day while using only the electric motors. Features – Power mode , Economy mode , PWR mode. Aerodynamic shape and design . Extra Solar panel can be added on the roof. It has a Solar panel and electric battery , the solar panel converts the sunlight directly into electric energy andcharges up the car . The car also has a CNG and a Petrol/ Diesel tank . The car run on electrical energy from 0-40kms . Then it runs on CNG gas from 40-60 Kms . Then from 60-240 kms it runs on either petrol or Diesel. Anunconfirmed report in January 2009 stated that Toyota is working on an all-solar vehicle.
SINGLE-TRACK VEHICLES A solar bicycle or tricycle has the advantage of very low weight and can use theriders foot power to supplement the power generated by the solar panel roof. Inthis way, a comparatively simple and inexpensive vehicle can be driven without theuse of any fossil fuels . Example:-Solar photovoltaics helped power Indias first Quadricycle developedsince 1996 in Gujarat states Surat city.
SOLAR SHIPS The race to go green is on in the shipping industry. Not only is the price of oil soaring, butmore and more stress is being put on the shipping industry to decrease its carbon emissions and itsharmful affects on the global environment. This has led shipping companies to turn to sources ofa renewable energy to power their vessels. Two Japanese companies have taken the initiative totackle this important issue saying that they plan to begin work on the first ships to have propulsionengines partially powered by solar energy. Example :-`Tûranor Planet Solar Europe’ Ship is fully using the sun as a source of energy.Sunlight on the 825-some solar panels installed on its wings extended, which can generate electricityup to 93.5 kilowatts. Lithium-ion batteries in both the float to move the ship at night and enough topass through three full days without sunlight. A computer controls the flow of energy into thebatteries and motors that drive the propellers 1.8 meters long yacht.
SOLAR POWERED SPACECRAFT Solar energy is often used to supply power for satellites and spacecraft operatingin the inner solar system since it can supply energy for a long time without excessfuel mass. A Communications satellite contains multiple radio transmitters whichoperate continually during its life. It would be uneconomic to operate such a vehicle(which may be on-orbit for years) from primary batteries or fuel cells, and refuelingin orbit is not practical. Solar power is not generally used to adjust the satellitesposition, however, and the useful life of a communications satellite will be limited bythe on-board station-keeping fuel supply.
A few spacecraft operating within the orbit of Mars have used solar power as anenergy source for their propulsion system. All current solar powered spacecraft use solarpanels in conjunction with electric propulsion, typically ion drives as this gives a very highexhaust velocity, and reduces the propellant over that of a rocket by more than a factorof ten. Since propellant is usually the biggest mass on many spacecraft, this reduceslaunch costs. Other proposals for solar spacecraft include solar thermal heating ofpropellant, typically hydrogen or sometimes water is proposed. An electrodynamic tethercan be used to change a satellites orientation or adjust its orbit.
ELECTRIC AIRCRAFT An electric aircraft is an aircraft that runs on electric motors rather thaninternal combustion engines, with electricity coming from fuel cells, solarcells, ultracapacitors, power beaming, and/or batteries. Currently flying electricaircraft are mostly experimental demonstrators, including manned and unmannedaerial vehicles. Electrically powered model aircraft have been flown since the1970s, with one report in 1957.
EXAMPLE:- HELIOS project was a part of NASAs ERAST programme (Environmental Research Aircraftand Sensor Technology). It was developed by NASA and Californian company AeroVironment Inc.ERAST programme develops pilotless solar powered airplane technology. The HELIOSconstruction is based upon its predecessors like NASAs solar plane Pathfinder, which wassuccessfully tested a few years prior to HELIOS. Due to its speed HELIOS was able to flew overthe same spot for days or weeks, therefore, in the future such aircrafts could substitutecommunication satellites. In the test flight on 13th August 2001, HELIOS reached the height ofalmost 30,000 meters. HELIOS was a slow airplane - if you ride a bicycle fast, you are quicker thanHELIOS. It was a remotely controlled plane with no crew weighting less than most cars.However, it flew higher than any other plane powered solely by solar energy.
L I M I TAT I O N S A N D C H A L L E N G E S Solar cars don’t have speed or power that regular cars have. Solar powered cars can operate only for limited distances where there is no sun. If it is dark out for many days, the car battery will not charge and you this canseem as a problem to many problem. This is the main reason why people don’trely on solar cars. A good solar powered car is expensive. It will cost $200,000 or more. Parts used in solar cars are not produced in large quantity so they are expensive
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