Sustainable technology is on the rise! Many countries around the world have begun to encourage the adoption of technologies that improve the environment. One such technology development is the rolling out of electric cars, buses and other forms of transportation. Increasing the amount of sustainable transportation in the world is a great way to reduce emissions and the effect of transporting people and cargo around the globe on the environment as a whole. Many people have begun to follow this trend of electrified vehicle development by purchasing their very own electric car to fulfill their everyday transport needs, in place of polluting combustion engine cars. Of course this is a great way of reducing an individual’s impact on the environment, reducing the carbon emitted from the car itself. However, if the power used to charge the car is sourced from natural gas or coal power plants the emissions are just passed elsewhere, reducing the potential impact of electric vehicle technology.
The solution to this problem is to generate the electricity that is used to power the car without creating emissions. Renewable is a great way to achieve this, exploiting the natural, emission free power source that is the wind, sun and tides. This is great in concept but difficult in practice. The electrical energy most people have access to is sourced from a given country’s electrical grid. At present, a large proportion of the power generated for electrical energy grids is generated from non renewable sources such as natural gas and coal.
These energy sources emit pollution into the environment, particularly carbon dioxide and other warming agents, speeding up the process of global warming. Unfortunately, at the moment, the energy taken from most country’s grids and used in an electric vehicle cannot be considered to emit zero pollutants as pollutants are indirectly emitted to power the car. Energy companies and governments are looking to quickly decarbonise grids to reduce the proportion of electricity generated through polluting sources. This would involve reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal and swapping them for renewable sources such as wind and solar.
So how do you go about ensuring the electricity that goes into powering your car is entirely pollution free and renewable? Well there are two main methods. The first is to sign up to an energy provider that provides one hundred percent of their energy through entirely renewable and green sources. This can be achieved by looking into the website of a given provider and investigating their policy on renewable energy. It can also be achieved by looking at comparison websites and articles to see which providers use renewable energy.
This first method can sometimes be a bit tricky in practice. Some areas are locked into using a particular energy provider or are locked into a small range of providers as a result of nearby infrastructure availability, for example an electricity meter owned by a particular company installed in your house may need replacing to switch providers. It can also be difficult and inconvenient to actually make the switch with many providers making it difficult to leave their electricity providing services. There may also be other factors in which electricity provider you would like to go with such as the reliability of their electricity supply.
The more controllable way for you to determine how your power is generated, and the second method on our list, is simply to generate your power yourself! Controlling every step of your power generation is the best way of ensuring there is no pollution being created to generate your energy. This can be achieved in a few ways, the most popular of which are wind turbines and solar panels. These technologies can help you to generate power at home with minimal effort on your part, you just need to set it up, then it is ready to passively generate power for your home.
But, since we are talking about electric vehicles and home power generation, you may ask, how effective is a roof mounted power generator? How long would it take to charge up my electric vehicle to a full charge? Well let's have a look! We will take the newly approved for UK use, Citroen Ami. A wonderfully small electric vehicle, perfect for city driving. And we will see how long it might take to charge up this car’s battery to full. To start with, the battery capacity of this vehicle is 5.5kWh, giving the 48 mile range of the battery.
Harnessing the power of the wind
Next, we need to pick a wind turbine to charge this battery with. Let's go with the TESUP Atlas 4.0. This wind turbine can generate 4 kW at its rated power! Spinning at its rated speed as a result of 15m/s winds for the duration, this turbine would generate enough power to charge the battery of the Citroen Ami in just 1 hour and 23 minutes! Unfortunately this is potentially not realistic as the turbine is unlikely to spin constantly at its rated speed. The method of determining the actual likely power generation is through using a capacity factor.
A capacity factor indicates how likely a wind turbine is to be spinning due to wind at a given moment. This value is approximately 30% of the time in a relatively windy country such as the UK, for your area, look at your national meteorologist data to see average wind speeds. Therefore, the estimated effective power generation from an Atlas 4.0 in the UK is around 1.2 kW. All told this means that the power to charge the battery of a Citroen Ami could be generated in around 4 hours and 35 minutes! Not bad at all! This time could even be brought down by installing more wind turbines!
So if you have an electric vehicle it might be worth looking into a wind turbine for your house to help to charge your electric vehicle and make your transport more carbon friendly!