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Tuesday, 26 April 2022 09:16

Australian project to power EV around country using printed solar panels Featured

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Professor Paul Dastoor. Professor Paul Dastoor. Courtesy Charge Around Australia

Printed solar panels will be used to power a Tesla on a 15,000-km trip around Australia in September to make the public more aware of steps to effect climate change.

The Charge Around Australia project is a partnership between British firm Charge Around Britain and the University of Newcastle in NSW.

CAB director Stuart McBain, one of the people involved in the Australia project, undertook a trip around the UK coastline in an EV five years ago to prove that there were sufficient charging points for these vehicles.

McBain also drove around the Iceland coastline in a Nissan Leaf to demonstrate that such a vehicle was up to the challenging trip.

The portable printed solar cell panels will be used to charge the vehicle off-grid; the technology is known as organic photovoltaics.

The solar cells have been developed by Professor Paul Dastoor and his team at the university. They are made from a lightweight, laminated PET [Polyethylene terephthalate] plastic that costs less than US$10 a square metre.

map 1536x1042

The route to be followed by the Tesla in September.

He will co-ordinate the research and manage the development and installation for the project.

A statement from Charge Around Australia said the technology was in the beginning stages of development and printing processes could be improved.

"Printed solar panels offer us possibilities that conventional solar panels do not. They are ultra-flexible, ultra-lightweight and ultra-thin, so they can be used to cover expansive areas. In addition, because they are printed, they can be produced at extremely low cost," it said.

"When efficiency levels are doubled to around 4%, it is possible that the technology will have the capability to generate the cheapest form of electricity on the planet. The potential of this technology is that every building and structure could have a coating on it that generates power."

Others involved in the Australia drive are Aleksei Esguerra, support vehicle driver and health and safety officer; Dr Xiaojing Zhou, provider of key expertise in device design and development and performance analysis; Dr Ben Vaughan, provider of key expertise in supporting the fabrication and manufacture of the printed solar cell panels; and Dr Michael Dickinson, Provider of key expertise in the generation system design and development.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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