The Wind & Solar Tower can provide clean energy to electric cars. (Image Credit: WST)
More people are welcoming electric vehicles now that they’ve become more environmentally friendly versus cars relying on gas. However, EVs can harm the environment since the energy they require comes from unclean sources like gas and coal. In the future, electric vehicle owners can charge their batteries with the Wind & Solar Tower, a new product that uses renewables to produce clean energy. The company says it’s the world’s first sun and wind hybrid power generator.
The Wind & Solar Tower structure features a solar panel that works with the wind turbine to generate massive amounts of power --- we’re talking 234,000 kWh per year. The turbine has 33% duty cycles while the solar panel achieves 45%, sufficient for 810,000 miles of EV driving range with a 3.46 miles/kWh consumption rate.
Producing all that power is possible thanks to a unique magnetic-based levitation hub that allows people to use their fingers to spin the turbine. Additionally, it has a sequential transmission running on eight speeds and straight-cut gears, which means the system can generate electricity for longer durations. The gearbox adds another layer of flexibility since steady breezes don’t come as often as wind gusts. If there’s not much wind, the gearbox shifts down so the turbine rotates more easily. More wind causes the transmission to upshift, ensuring the best turbine speed as it generates more power due to a faster spinning generator.
The tower comes with a self-cleaning solar panel at the top and a vertical wind turbine, which spins despite the wind’s direction. Wind speeds don’t have to be very high for the system to produce power --- it just needs five mph and can take on 75 mph gusts without sustaining damage. Even better, it’s very efficient and affordable for the tower to generate one kWh, costing just four cents. That also means owners can provide free EV battery charging to customers.
Overall, the generator is 92.3% efficient, and EV owners can use it to charge batteries at night or when there’s no wind because it has energy storage capabilities. With its energy storage, the system can distribute power at 380 kW and 1,000 V. It only takes three minutes to provide a battery with 65 miles of range, which increases to 219 miles after charging for ten minutes.
The turbine helps keep the solar panel clean by spinning, which effectively removes water or dirt that may settle atop the surface. Plus, circulating air underneath the panels keeps the panels cool, decreasing heat soak to keep the efficiency as high as possible during high temperatures.
Interestingly, an owner can also hook the tower to an electrical grid. That way, the batteries are always charged, especially during nighttime. Also, the generated power can be sold to utility companies for extra profit.
The generator is quite convenient because it can be scaled and fit in certain areas, like universities, gas stations, and downtown areas. The company also suggests scaling the system down for at-home installation, but that won’t happen until other versions are developed. As it stands now, the hybrid generator isn’t in production because they don’t have the capital to start manufacturing. They expect that to come from investment bankers and joint-venture partners.
The expected cost for a Wind & Tower is approximately $80,000 per DC fast charger. But that price ultimately increases to $480,000 because each one has six outlets extending from the canopy. This also means those interested don’t have to pay $100,000+ to install a 480V, three-phase power.
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