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8 February, 2016 - 10:30 By Kate Sweeney

Wind in the sails of new energy sources

 Dr Peter Harrop

New ways of harvesting increased stockpiles of self-renewable energy are literally putting fresh wind in the sails of power generation, according to a Cambridge UK technology consultancy.

IDTechEx says the new sources being piloted go way beyond solar power as boats capture wind, waves and tide and some land vehicles also capture wind energy using on-board equipment. Aircraft capture thermals to generate electricity.

Franco Gonzalez, senior technology analyst at IDTechEx, and colleague Dr Peter Harrop reveal the fresh upspin in the energy revolution that are covered in a report on the future of energy-independent vehicles from now until 2026.

It reveals how technology used in Formula One leads to less pollution in vehicles and how even wind harvested from sailing boats in the harbour can boost energy stocks. Gonzalez says: “Formula One is significant in two ways. It is a major business in its own right at approaching $14bn and it pioneers vital new technologies in a car or bus near you from the disk brake to the flywheel kinetic energy recovery system and the supercapacitor hybrid powertrain.”

Dr Harrop of analysts IDTechEx (pictured above) says: “Paradoxically, those fearsome Formula One machines burning the rubber lead us to a safer, less polluting, more economical future. “In exactly the same way, the new energy independent electric vehicles (EIVs) are starting to be both a substantial business and a creator of new technology for regular vehicles.

“Think of the solar aircraft up for five years and boats circumnavigating the world on sunshine alone. Less well known are Chinese microbuses with no battery but extended super-efficient solar cells. These little buses only work in daylight but they are super-green.”

IDTechEx says new announcements come thick and fast. One is a seagoing boat with a large rotating vertical wind turbine with straight vertical blades that safer and more powerful than any scale up of the small propeller types typically seen on sailing yachts.

The developer Inergy declares: “Would 70kW of free power at a 40+ per cent net capacity factor be useful? The time for serious on-board wind power has arrived. EcoVert is the best wind power solution for a vessel at sea.” Why? It is quiet and slow (30rpm max operating speed); its blade path of rotation is never toward the vessel, but around it; it is among the most efficient turbines in the world (Cp > 50 per cent); when turned off it has the lowest overturning moment loads of any turbine; the rotor/nacelle mass is low relative to other turbine designs.

Gonzales says: “Imagine a sailboat that stores the wind while at anchor or a sailboat that looks and functions more like a traditional powerboat. How about a powerboat that has unlimited range and time cruising without refuelling? Imagine the possibilities!”

The subject is fully covered in new IDTechEx reports, the overview Energy Independent Vehicles 2016-2026 and the drill down on technology called Energy Independent Electric Vehicle Technology Roadmap 2016-2036.

They reveal how electric vehicles that never need refuelling, plugging in or contactlessly charging are now on general sale, with many more to come and more efficient motors, aerodynamics and solar cells are among the early advances.

Some solar vehicles even move their ultra efficient solar cells to track the sun, says IDTechEx. Parameters and technology trends such as multiple energy harvesting and regeneration are explained and predicted.

For more see www.IDTechEx.com/EIV and www.IDTechEx.com/EIVTech
 

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