How solar-charged HVAC keeps trucking cool

August 11, 2020 by  
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How solar-charged HVAC keeps trucking cool Mike Roeth Tue, 08/11/2020 – 00:01 When most businesspeople travel for their jobs, they retire to their hotel room at the end of the day. However, when long-haul truck drivers are finished with their work, they move to the back of their truck cab into what is called the sleeper compartment. Long-haul, over-the-road truck drivers typically are out on the road anywhere from one to three weeks at a time, delivering the goods we need for our daily lives. Most drivers spend their off-duty time in the sleeper compartments of their trucks, sometimes keeping the truck idling to get power and to cool or heat their space. This idling creates a significant amount of increased emissions, noise and wear on the main engine. To reduce fuel consumption — which by extension decreases emissions — trucking fleets are using auxiliary electric battery HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units in combination with solar panels installed on truck roofs. Idling to keep cool Providing an acceptable environment to rest and work is critical. Most important, drivers need access to heating and cooling for their comfort and health. In addition, there is the need for electric power for entertainment, completion of necessary work-related paperwork, cooking, etc. While all these so called “hotel” loads consume energy, the biggest energy draw has been the vehicle’s air conditioning system. Historically, drivers’ power needs were supplied by idling their vehicles’ 400 plus horsepower engine. It was common for trucks to have 50 percent idle time during the summer, meaning if they drove for 11 hours, the truck would idle for 11 hours while the driver was not driving. That amounts to over 2,000 hours per year of non-driving idling, which is costly and loud and generates emissions, and which can nearly completely be removed. Reducing idling time The trucking industry has made amazing progress in lowering emissions from these hoteling loads and today long-haul trucks typically have a small unit known as a battery HVAC or electric auxiliary power unit (APU) installed either at the factory when the truck is produced or added later once the fleet takes ownership of the vehicle. These battery-powered units have allowed fleets to significantly reduce their idle time. However, as the effects of climate change have caused higher temperatures, the battery HVAC systems are not powerful enough for long amounts of time. These systems have enough power to make it through a driver’s mandated 30-minute rest break after up to 11 hours of driving. However, they often can’t make it through the 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time mandated after 11 hours of driving. Battery-powered units have allowed fleets to significantly reduce idle time. But as the effects of climate change cause higher temperatures, the battery HVAC systems are not powerful enough for long amounts of time. Even more, the systems usually can’t make it through the 34-hour reset mandated in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations Hours of Service regulations for commercial vehicle drivers after a number of consecutive driving days. The battery HVAC system gets charged while the vehicle is moving down the road. In some cases, fleet terminals or truck stops have shorepower plugs that allow the truck’s HVAC system to run off electricity. But not enough of these options are available, so drivers can’t always rely on their battery HVAC systems to keep them cool. The addition of solar panels to these trucks helps keep the HVAC batteries charged without producing any greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Let’s have a quick look at the savings such a system delivers. For a single week of resting in the sleeper during the summertime, a heavy-duty truck idling 50 percent of the time would burn about 19 gallons of diesel, producing 420 pounds of carbon dioxide. Compare this to burning around two gallons of diesel using a battery HVAC system augmented with solar panels. About 1 million such tractor-trailers are in North America, and given that only 10 percent of current sleepers use these systems today, the industry could save 1.7 million gallons of diesel fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by 19,000 tons each summer week. (See below for a real-life example with a driver using this system.) Multiple benefits of solar-powered HVAC systems While in theory the benefits of using solar panels to power battery HVAC systems sound ideal, having firsthand feedback from a fleet that has deployed this technology provides deeper insights into the real-world performance. Clark Reed, a driver with Nussbaum Transportation, is one of the most energy-efficient drivers on the road today and also participated in NACFE’s Run on Less 2017 fuel efficiency demonstration. During a three-week period in 2017, seven drivers operating trucks specified with commercially available technology demonstrated that 10.1 miles per gallon (mpg) was possible hauling real freight in real world applications. The national average at the time of the run was 6.4 mpg. Using a solar-powered HVAC system, Reed said he was able to get through his 10-hour breaks with zero idling and the 34-hour reset break with little to no idling depending on weather conditions and the amount of hotel load he required. “My idle time is right at 1 percent now, and I am out for weeks at a time, which requires multiple resets [34-hour breaks from driving] on the road,” he said. Reed also said the system allows him to stay comfortable while his truck is being loaded or unloaded at customer locations where idling is not allowed. In addition to the cooling benefits, Reed found some additional value from the system. “The system is quiet,” he said. “There is no motor droning on or turning on and off in the middle of the night [as happens in other idle reduction solutions]. It helps me get better sleep, not just because of the comfort, but also because of its almost silent operation.” There are also benefits for those around Reed. “The unit does not blow smoke and fumes into the truck parked next to me,” he noted. “The air conditioning system is completely clean running, with the only exhaust being from the heater when it is needed.” A cleaner future for trucks  Solar panels on trucks with battery HVAC systems keep drivers cool and help them manage their hotel loads with less fuel use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Infrastructure development could increase adoption of solar powered truck HVACs, if there were more plugs at places where drivers stop. Given that the electric grid is becoming cleaner because of the increased use of wind and solar, these systems can become even cleaner in the future. Existing and emerging technologies are making trucking fleets more efficient and cleaner than ever, while the trucking industry keeps supplying us with the essential goods we need every day. Pull Quote Battery-powered units have allowed fleets to significantly reduce idle time. But as the effects of climate change cause higher temperatures, the battery HVAC systems are not powerful enough for long amounts of time. Topics Transportation & Mobility Trucking Collective Insight Rocky Mountain Institute Rocky Mountain Institute Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Volvo SuperTruck includes an array of solar panels built into the roof of the trailer. Courtesy of Volvo Close Authorship

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How solar-charged HVAC keeps trucking cool

Earth911 Quiz #47: Battery Recycling Challenge

January 31, 2019 by  
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Americans buy about 3 billion batteries each year, half of … The post Earth911 Quiz #47: Battery Recycling Challenge appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #47: Battery Recycling Challenge

A conversation with a lithium-ion battery pioneer

April 26, 2018 by  
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On the eve of receiving the Japan Prize, Dr. Yoshino looks back at his battery research that helped pave the way for today’s booming lithium-ion market.

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A conversation with a lithium-ion battery pioneer

4 steps to walking the talk through SDGs disclosure

April 26, 2018 by  
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Here’s how to get in front of sustainable development goal-reporting guidance.

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UMD scientists invent new water-based battery that won’t catch fire

April 16, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Maryland have invented a new  water -based zinc battery that is safer than a traditional lithium-ion battery, but which doesn’t sacrifice power or usability. The team utilized elements of older zinc battery technology with novel water-in- salt electrolytes to create a battery that is not prone to catching fire. “Water-based batteries could be crucial to preventing fires in electronics, but their energy storage and capacity have been limited – until now,” said study first author Fei Wang in a statement . “For the first time, we have a battery that could compete with the lithium-ion batteries in energy density, but without the risk of explosion or fire.” Their work was recently published in the journal Nature Materials . One of the new battery ‘s improvements over traditional batteries is its ability to overcome irreversibility, the phenomenon in which the charge delivered by the battery at its intended voltage decreases with usage, through a technique that changes the structure of the positively charged zinc ions within the battery. In addition to the battery’s application in consumer goods, it also could prove invaluable in extreme conditions such as the deep  ocean or outer space. Related: California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s The saline aqueous nature of the zinc battery eliminates the need to replace evaporated water within the battery, a key challenge of traditional zinc batteries. “Existing zinc batteries are safe and relatively inexpensive to produce, but they aren’t perfect due to poor cycle life and low energy density,” said study co-author Chunsheng Wang in a statement . “We overcome these challenges by using a water-in-salt electrolyte.” The researchers believe that their invention and related discoveries could be applicable to a wide variety of energy technologies. “The significant discovery made in this work has touched the core problem of aqueous zinc batteries,” said study co-author Kang Xu in a statement , “and could impact other aqueous or non-aqueous multivalence cation chemistries that face similar challenges, such as magnesium and aluminum batteries.” + Nature Materials Via  TechXplore Images via John T. Consoli/University of Maryland

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UMD scientists invent new water-based battery that won’t catch fire

California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s

April 12, 2018 by  
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Tesla’s 100-megawatt (MW) South Australia battery will no longer be the world’s largest if a new solar project goes through. According to  USA Today ,  Recurrent Energy has requested permission from the federal government for the Crimson Solar Project, a 350-MW solar plant with as much as 350 MW of battery storage in the California desert east of Palm Springs. Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar , aims to build a battery storage project and associated solar plant on 2,500 acres of public land near California’s Mule Mountains, south of Interstate 10. Solar power has rapidly expanded in  California , creating a need for more battery storage. Recurrent Energy’s plans for such a massive battery are encouraging for the clean power industry; GTM Research energy storage analyst Daniel Finn-Foley told USA Today, “If they actually installed 350 MW, that would be a bombshell.” Related: Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days But it’s not a done deal at this point. The federal permitting process could take years, and Recurrent lacks a buyer for the solar plant’s electricity . Large utilities like Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas & Electric could be possible customers. Recurrent Energy’s director of permitting Scott Dawson told USA Today, “If someone wants it, we’ll build it.” There are environmental concerns at the location, although Dawson said the company has redesigned the Crimson Solar Project to avoid the most sensitive habitats. The plant would disrupt 30 sand dune habitat acres where the Mojave fringe-toed lizard resides; a prior plan disrupted 580 acres. A previous plan also saw the plant disrupting 95 acres of biodiversity-rich microphyll woodlands, but that number is now at 1.2 acres. The solar project would not encroach on critical habitat for the desert tortoise. + Recurrent Energy Via USA Today Images via Recurrent Energy

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Hyundai to build battery 50% larger than Tesla’s South Australia system

December 6, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s South Australia battery system likely won’t hold the title of world’s largest for long. Hyundai Electric and Energy Systems is building a 150-megawatt lithium-ion battery storage system – 50 percent larger than Tesla’s – in South Korea . And they say it should go live in around three months. Hyundai’s South Korea battery could go live in February. They contracted with metal smelting company Korea Zinc for the system costing 50 billion won, or around $45 million. Korea Zinc will use the battery storage system at their Ulsan refinery. Related: Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early Bloomberg New Energy Finance senior associate Ali Asghar said, “ Musk has set a benchmark on how quickly you can install and commission a battery of this size,” and that plummeting costs are “making them a compelling mainstream option for energy storage applications in many areas around the world.” Hyundai Electric was created earlier in 2017 in a spinoff-move by shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, according to Green Car Reports . The company has since expanded into the power storage market – they said in a statement the global market is anticipated to grow from $2.6 billion last year to $29.2 billion by 2025. “The energy market is rapidly changing globally due to the expansion of new and renewable energy sources and the trend of declining power sources,” said Hyundai Electric president Jung Young-jul. “We are targeting the market through technology -competitive systems and data analysis based on various experiences.” Bloomberg said battery prices have plunged by nearly half since 2014, and that each time the global supply of batteries doubles, prices fall by 19 percent. Hyundai Electric recently constructed a 51.5 megawatt-hour energy storage system (ESS) at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Ulsan headquarters. They said the system will boost the efficiency of power use. Via Bloomberg , Green Car Reports , and Hyundai Electric Images via Hyundai Electric

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Fisker patents EV battery with a range of 500 miles that can be charged in 1 minute

November 16, 2017 by  
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It might sound too good to be true – but Fisker is working on an electric vehicle battery that can charge up to 100% in just one minute. They’ve reportedly made a breakthrough in solid-state batteries – and their technology could allow an EV to travel 500 miles after a single charge. Designer Henrik Fisker relaunched his EV venture last year, and since then he has teased the 2019 EMotion and started accepting pre-orders this past summer. Now the company has filed a patent for a groundbreaking solid-state battery. Related: Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion EV Green Car Congress reports that the patent includes claims about manufacturing processes and novel materials, saying, “Fisker’s solid-state batteries will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries .” Recharging such a battery, they pointed out, would take less time than filling up a tank of gas today. Electrek said while they’ve been dubious about some of the claims attached to the EMotion , there could be some credibility behind the battery as the effort has been helmed by Fabio Albano, co-founder of Sakti3 and Fisker’s vice president of battery systems. Albano said, “We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low-cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings.” The first EMotions will employ lithium-ion batteries similar to those in other EVs, but Fisker aims to have their solid-state battery production grade ready sometime around 2023. The company could show their first working prototype of the technology at CES 2018 in Las Vegas in January. + Fisker Via Electrek , Green Car Congress , and HuffPost UK Images via Fisker

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MIT and Lamborghini designed an electric supercar – and it’s incredible

November 14, 2017 by  
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Looking for the car of your dreams? We’ve found it. Lamborghini recently partnered with MIT to produce a futuristic, semi-autonomous car that’s as sexy as it is eco-friendly. As you might expect, the Terzo Millennio looks like a Lamborghini supercar. But its sleek, sharp angles aren’t its most impressive feature. The vehicle’s carbon fiber body actually stores energy – and it’s able to heal itself. Lamborghini and MIT sought to develop a supercar for the generation after the next that focuses on five distinct areas: energy, materials, storage, propulsion, design, and emotion. The Terzo Millennio has four electric motors — one in each wheel. This allows for more freedom in the design, as all the motor-related parts are hidden in the wheel wells. Rather than relying on standard batteries, the vehicle is powered by supercapacitors. CNET reports that supercapacitors “accept and deliver charge faster than batteries can, while withstanding numerous charge cycles and featuring storage capacities much higher than standard capacitators.” Related: MIT students find a way to make stronger concrete with plastic bottles New technology can monitor the car’s carbon fiber structure. This prevents a small crack (for example) from growing and altering the charge of the vehicle. The MIT researchers refer to this as a “self-repairing” process. The Terzo Millennio is also designed to be semi-autonomous . This means it will work with the driver to help them become more proficient at handling the vehicle and navigating roads. Technically, it could ferry around a passenger, but the vehicle treats autonomy as a means to an end instead of the end itself. + Lamborghini Via CNET Images via Lamborghini

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MIT and Lamborghini designed an electric supercar – and it’s incredible

Toshiba lithium-ion battery could offer EVs 200-mile range after 6-minute recharge

October 25, 2017 by  
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The electric vehicle (EV) movement could receive a major boost from a new lithium-ion battery . Toshiba recently announced the battery charges up in a snappy six minutes, providing compact EVs with a 200-mile range. Toshiba said their next-generation SCiB lithium-ion battery comes with an anode comprised of a new material unlike any other on the market. Toshiba’s new 32 kilowatt-hour SCiB battery could triple the travel distance possible for EVs when compared to existing lithium ion batteries thanks to a titanium niobium oxide anode that replaces conventional lithium titanium oxide anodes. Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars The energy density by volume of this new battery is twice that of Toshiba’s current SCiB, according to the company, but prototype testing shows it is as safe, with a similarly long life cycle. They also say after 5,000 charge and discharge cycles, the battery maintains more than 90 percent of the capacity it had at the start, so it could go through one recharge cycle per day for 14 years, according to Electronics Weekly . The battery can also undergo ultra-rapid recharging when it’s chilly outside – charging up in 10 minutes when the temperature is as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius. The titanium niobium oxide anode is less likely to suffer from lithium metal deposition while recharging quickly or in the cold, which can degrade batteries. Toshiba Corporate Research and Development Center director Osamu Hori said in a statement, “We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation SCiB. Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game-changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV. We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiB into practical application in fiscal year 2019.” Toshiba didn’t give a price for the battery in their release. Via Toshiba and Electronics Weekly Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Toshiba lithium-ion battery could offer EVs 200-mile range after 6-minute recharge

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