Scientists want to travel 15,000 km with a Tesla powered only by printed solar panels

In September, a team of scientists from Newcastle University will hit the road in an off-grid Tesla powered by 18 printed solar panels.

The project Load around Australia is a 15,100km journey around the Australian coast demonstrating that printed solar technology can be used to generate renewable energy to charge off-grid electric cars, while raising awareness of climate change.

The printed panels, each 18m long, use an innovative solar technology called organic photovoltaics.

Professor Paul Dastoor and his team at Newcastle University’s Center for Organic Electronics have pioneered the development of a water-based solar paint that can be printed at high speed to fabricate large areas, using roll-to-roll processing techniques.

The team says OPV technology, also known as plastic cells, will play an important role in the future of renewable energy.

These low-cost printed solar modules offer immense potential as a lightweight, easy-to-install alternative to conventional silicon-based solar panels, which are heavy and bulky.

Imagine a future where the surface of every building or mode of transportation could incorporate printed solar technology to generate power.

Paul Dastor

Dastoor said the Charge Around Australia project would test the panels not only for strength but also for their potential performance for other applications.

In fact, it is an ideal test bed for learning how to use and power technology in other remote places, for example in space.

Paul Dastor

During the ride, the team will be able to harness free solar energy from the sun along the wilderness where there are no charging stations for vehicles. The panels can be unfolded next to the Tesla to absorb sunlight when it needs to charge.

The future of sustainable energy production.

Load around Australiaa partnership between British company Charging Around Britain Ltd and Newcastle University’s Center for Organic Electronics, aims to demonstrate the ability of portable solar panels to operate successfully over the harsh course and therefore help dissipate ” range anxiety” currently associated with long-distance electric vehicle travel.

However, the team’s larger goal is to get the public thinking about the benefits of solar power and its impact on climate change.

Our project is designed to educate and support individuals and organizations, including schools. Our goal is to highlight the fact that the future of sustainable energy production for transport and our energy needs in general will be through new technologies.

Expanding access to reliable sources of electricity through sustainable, low-cost energy such as solar power can reduce poverty and inequality. Limiting the use of fossil fuels can curb climate change.

Paul Dastor

As they travel across the country, the team will visit remote, rural and regional schools and communities as part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tour. Students will be able to interact with scientific researchers, learn about technology, and build their own plastic solar cells using non-toxic and risk-free materials.

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