WHO ARE WE
Charge Around Australia is a collaboration between Charging Around Britain Ltd and the University of Newcastle, Australia. The partnership brings together two sustainable energy advocates – electric car enthusiast, Stuart McBain, and Professor Paul Dastoor, a world authority on organic electronics. The pair share an ambition to find real solutions to tackle climate change and the global energy crisis.
As director of Charging Around Britain Ltd, Stuart McBain has been investigating the development of products and services focussed on sustainability over the last five years.
In 2017, he drove around the coastline of Great Britain in an electric car to prove there are sufficient charging points in the UK to ensure that the road range of electric vehicles imposes no limits on journey length. Later that year, he drove around the rugged coastline of Iceland in a Nissan Leaf car to demonstrate that standard specification electric vehicles are more than capable of successfully completing challenging, long-distance journeys.
Physicist and solar energy researcher Professor Paul Dastoor is a global leader in organic electronics. His innovative work at the University of Newcastle developing the world’s first printed solar cell panels, led Stuart to contact him with a view to taking this pioneering technology to the next stage by demonstrating a commercial use for it.
Charge Around Australia is the first project that we have collaborated on. Involving driving around the entire coastline of Australia in an electric vehicle, the project will demonstrate the use of innovative printed solar technology to charge the car when travelling outside of the established charging infrastructure zones.
Together, we want to raise awareness of this new technology and show how it could be used to provide power generation capability in the future. Professor Dastoor and his team at the Centre for Organic Electronics (COE) will benefit from positive coverage that can help the university to attract both funding and students. In turn, this can facilitate the COE’s continuing progress with its groundbreaking scientific research.
The technology is currently at the start of its development. We know that the printing processes can be improved, in order to make the product more efficient and ultimately bring it to market.
Printed solar panels offer us possibilities that conventional solar panels do not. They are ultra-flexible, ultra-lightweight and ultra-thin, so they can be used to cover expansive areas. In addition, because they are printed, they can be produced at extremely low cost.
When efficiency levels are doubled to around 4%, it is possible that the technology will have the capability to generate the cheapest form of electricity on the planet. The potential of this technology is that every building and structure could have a coating on it that generates power.
After this project is completed, we hope that Charging Around Britain, Professor Dastoor and the University of Newcastle will work together on future projects. A number of business ideas are being explored. One such idea would involve mounting the printed solar cell panels on the roofs of electric and hybrid buses. The energy collected by the panels could be used to extend the range of these types of vehicles with the added advantage of also reducing particulate emissions.
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