Many manufacturers have begun to install solar panels on the roof, hood and other areas to increase the mileage of electric vehicles or gasoline hybrid electric vehicles. However, the solar modules are usually dark or light blue, which is a bit incompatible with various car paint colors. For this, German scientists have developed solar panels that can be “invisible” like a ninja.
Recently, there are more cars equipped with solar panels. Take the Dutch startup company Lightyear as an example, it has launched an electric car with a hood, a roof-to-back covering 5 square meters, and a conversion efficiency of 20% solar panels. It is expected that Sonata Hybrid will be launched in South Korea in 2021, which is a modern car equipped with solar panels.
However, the solar panels used by the companies mentioned cannot match the color of the car body because most of them are dark blue. For those people who care more about appearance, the use of solar panels may greatly reduce points. For this, Fraunhofer ISE, a German institute of applied sciences, has developed a new type of solar panel that is coated with special pigments, which allows it to change color with different car paints.
The special pigment is called Morpho Color, which is inspired by Morpho butterflies. They are dazzling metallic blue and live in tropical rainforests. In fact, the scales on their wings do not have a specific “color”, but are arranged in a special way to produce colors through diffraction and scattering of light. Therefore, the color will change according to different angles. The anti-counterfeiting marks and bubbles on paper money have similar concepts.
Therefore, with the help of special coatings, the solar panels are almost invisible and can match various colors of car bodies. Although the paint will reduce the efficiency by about 7%, it can help increase the purchase of solar roofs, and the team thinks it is worth it. According to Martin Heinrich, head of the automotive solar energy department at Fraunhofer ISE, the possibilities of color are nearly endless.
The new type of solar panel adopts the shingle interconnection arrangement method, the single-crystal silicon solar cells are overlapped with each other and then fixed with a conductive adhesive. These adhesives can be used as electrical conductors so that there is no need for installing wires. This can effectively reduce the resistance attenuation and avoid the shadow of the electrical connector, and also increase the module efficiency by 2%.
According to experiments by the team, the new solar panels can generate power of about 210W per square meter, which can reduce fuel consumption by 10% and increase mileage by about 10%. The team also cooperated with transportation companies and tested them on the road. New solar panels are installed on 6 large trucks. Radiation, temperature sensors and GPS are also used for measurement at the same time. Experiments indicate that 5,000 to 7,000 kWh of electricity can be generated every year.
Although no matter how powerful solar panels are developed, they still only have auxiliary functions. Cars still cannot run on 100% new energy, nor can they compare with traditional fuel vehicles. However, these are all good ways to reduce carbon.