International Institute of Sustainable Transportation

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Solar Component

I sometimes get the question "Why solar?" for Podcar systems. Well, there are many reasons for it. First, the sun is the most natural source of energy on earth, and it's endless free energy. Second, the electric energy derevied by PV cells is very suitable for transportation as electric motors are highly efficient. Third, we move with almost exactly the same pace as the sun shows itself - we sleep in the night and travel during the day. All of these good reasons add up to a solution that outperforms all non-renewable sources of energy for transportation. To furthermore add to the good news, todays cost for PV is more competitive than ever, and to install a PV system for a podcar network is also a sound financial investment.

 

 "But, how can you travel when there is no sun?"

 We just use the other sources of storage - hydro and wind. Since the travel patterns are much less intense during the night we need much less than during the day. For this day and time, solar energy as primary source of energy for transportation is not only a great idea, it's a very feasible and economical solution. On March 27 I will travel to the European Investment Bank to present the Uppsala preliinary ELENA application. The key component for the Podcar network proposed in Uppsals is the solar canopy over the track, feeding the system with 100% energy. It's amazing that less than 100 years after the break-through of the car that we now can seriously approach a solar based transportation system that performs better than the car. Human innovation and entrepreneurship that led us here is impressive, and it's the effort of many, many people that has made this possible. I really feel their strength and appreciation in my work, and it's an honor to carry these ideas forward. 

Lastly, one example of many of the change solar energy can bring to people: The Barefootcollege

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