Scientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia are testing a printed solar panel and plan to power Tesla cars from September this year, completing a 15,100-kilometer journey to make the public think about how to help avoid climate change.
THE AROUND AUSTRALIA CHARGING PROJECT” (CAA) WILL POWER TESLA’S ELECTRIC CARS WITH THE TEAM’S 18 PRINTED PLASTIC SOLAR PANELS, EACH 18 METRES LONG. WHEN TESLA CARS NEED TO BE CHARGED, THEY SPREAD OUT NEXT TO THE CAR TO ABSORB SUNLIGHT. DURING THE 84-DAY JOURNEY, THE TEAM PLANS TO VISIT ABOUT 70 SCHOOLS TO GIVE STUDENTS A TASTE OF WHAT THE FUTURE MIGHT LOOK LIKE.
THE PRINTED SOLAR PANEL IS A VERY LIGHT LAMINATED POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET) PLASTIC THAT COSTS LESS THAN $10 PER SQUARE METER TO MANUFACTURE. THE PANELS WERE PRINTED ON A COMMERCIAL PRINTER ORIGINALLY USED TO PRINT WINE LABELS. THIS SOLAR PANEL IS ONLY ONE-TENTH OF A MILLIMETER THICK AND CAN GENERATE ELECTRICITY UNDER ASTIGMATISM AND LOW-LIGHT CONDITIONS.
Paul Dastoor, the inventor of printed solar panels, said the Newcastle University team tested not only the panels’ durability but also their potential performance in other applications. He said using solar panels to power cars would make Australians think more about electric vehicles and help alleviate their “range anxiety”.