Wind & solar tower charges electric cars during load-shedding
A hybrid power station working solely by wind and sun, the Wind & Solar Tower (WST), had its global unveiling at this year’s Detroit motor show.
The tower is a featured attraction at the show which runs from September 13—15.
The automated 1:18 scale model demonstrates how clean, off-grid power can charge electric vehicles (EVs) in a way that is cleaner and more efficient than anything now available. A full-size tower operated seamlessly and flawlessly for five years, even surviving two hurricanes, said Jim Bardia, inventor of the device.
The tower combines two infinitely renewable power sources — wind and sun. The commercial-scale towers are for charging when motorists are away from home and also provide the comfort of lessening range anxiety. As they require no connection to the grid, towers can be placed almost anywhere for public access
“The Detroit Auto Show is one of the most influential annual automotive events in the world and a showcase for emerging technologies such as the Wind & Solar Tower,” said Bardia. “With its vertical axis wind turbine, frictionless levitation hub and self-cleaning/self cooling solar panel, the tower generates prodigious electrical output on a small footprint, making it a compelling addition to EV charging choices.”
Unlike other charging systems, the tower can function independently of the grid or be supplemented by the grid.
“The US electric grid needs strengthening because it is being asked to deliver far more energy than before,” said Bardia. “But we can’t spend billions of dollars to build additional power plants that will increase pollution by burning more fossil fuels. Using more wind, solar and hydroelectric power is the key to survival of our grid and the continuation of the comfortable lives we’ve come to enjoy.”
He quoted a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory which determined that the electricity used during an average 30-minute full charge of an EV at a level-3 DC fast charger is the same amount of electricity needed to power 50 homes.
“With federal rules calling for a high level of EV sales, it’s obvious we don’t, or won’t, have the power to charge the electrics. Without significant infrastructure changes, utilities will burn more fuel to power today’s electric plants or build more dirty plants to try to come close to generating the amount of electricity needed. Both of these are expensive, dirty and backward solutions.”
These two modes of generating emission-free electricity combine for 252kW and can charge an EV at level-4 with 380kW at 1,000v, demonstrating that “clean” charging does not have to compromise performance. Up to a megawatt of battery storage can be integrated. The owner of a tower doesn’t pay for electricity, thus eliminating a major cost of conventional units.
The tower employs a vertical axis wind turbine that catches wind from all directions. Topping the airfoil blades is a rotating circular solar panel that is self-cleaning, thus eliminating dust, soil and bird droppings to maximise solar energy reaching the cells.
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