Solar car project
Gasoline and diesel automobiles have been the most popular modes of transport since the availability of the first petrol-fueled vehicles. However, emissions or exhaust gases from such cars have faced serious environmental and health hazards in the past few decades in terms of air, land, water and noise pollution, leading to global warming, climate change and heart and lung problems, premature death, depression, memory loss, asthma and many more health related problems. Statistics say that 22% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the UK are due to cars and automobiles, to circumvent the above problems, scientists want to develop solar cars that are powered only by sunlight, and can serve as the key to reducing roads from noise pollution and harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Solar cars began their existence through universities and manufacturers. Starting with MIT in the United States, universities in 24 other countries around the world currently have dedicated research and manufacturing groups in solar cars. America (Sun Motor), manufacturer of India (Reva), Taiwan and France (Venturi) are hoping to bring their solar commuter cars to the general public. With the production of high performance and low-cost solar cells, more sophisticated and developed solar vehicles are coming into existence.
How do solar panels work to generate electricity?
A standard solar panel (also known as a solar module) consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass cover, and various wires allowed to flow through the silicon cells. Silicon (atom # 14 on the periodic table) is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allows it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to set in motion, which starts the flow of electric current. This is known as the “photovoltaic effect” and describes the general functionality of solar panel technology.
How does a solar-powered car work?
Solar powered cars use the energy from the sun to recharge their batteries with the help of solar panels. These cars depend on photovoltaic cells that help them convert sunlight into electricity. Technically, photons of sunlight collide with photovoltaic cells and excite electrons. This allows an electron current that creates an electric current in the process. This electric current is used as a “fuel” to drive the vehicle.
A 3D model of the proposed car has been implemented, which shows the location of the solar panel on the roof of the car as well as the outer body shape of the solar car. The model has a two-seater arrangement to maintain the streamlined shape and size of the car to minimize the impact of air resistance.
The detailed system architecture of the complete system is shown in a block diagram in fig. 2. Solar panels will be mounted on the roof of the car itself, which will collect energy from the sun and turn it into usable electrical energy. Electrical energy in turn will be stored in a lead acid battery, through which it will be supplied to the motor. Instructions from a microcontroller will be able to determine whether the battery needs to be charged directly without recharging, depending on the current battery state. The charge controller will also ensure the healthy life of the battery by preventing over charging and discharging.