On the journey, we are using portable printed solar cell panels to enable off-grid electric car charging. This innovative solar technology enables us to harvest free energy from the sun in wilderness stretches along the route where established charging stations are unavailable.
The technology, known as organic photovoltaics (OPV), is integral to the lightweight solar cells panels that have been developed by Professor Paul Dastoor and his pioneering OPV team at the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Organic Electronics.
The project can demonstrate the capability of the portable solar panels to function successfully on this challenging trip and consequently help to dispel the ‘range anxiety’ currently associated with long-distance journeys in electric vehicles.
We are doing much more than just driving. Our project is also designed to educate and support people and organisations, including schools. We are highlighting that the future of sustainable power generation for transport and our wider energy requirements relies on new technology.
Our project includes challenges, experiments, interviews and research, as well as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Roadshow.
The STEM Roadshow is visiting remote, rural and regional schools and communities across six Australian states and territories. Students are interacting with the roadshow team who can inspire them by explaining the science behind solar technology and the Charge Around Australia project.
In addition to the electric car that we are driving around Australia on the journey, we are also using a support vehicle. The latter is doubling up as the team’s mobile home and acting as a field station in which we can run experiments and gather data.
THE PROPOSED ROUTE
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land in which we are driving and pay our respect to Elders past and present.
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