Pranjal Kaustubh and Nishank Vaish, final-year students of B.Tech. (Electronics and Communication Engineering) at Amrita’s Bengaluru campus presented a paper on self-charging electric vehicles at the International Conference on Industrial and Commercial Use of Energy at Cape Town, South Africa in August 2012.
The students’ paper was titled Efficient Energy Harvester for Self Charging Vehicle System with Regenerative Braking.
The paper will be published in the proceedings of the conference and indexed by IEEE Xplore, the digital library of IEEE.
The conference was organized by Cape Peninsula University of Technology in partnership with several associations including the South Association of Energy Service Companies, South African Institute Association for Energy Efficiency and the Central Energy Fund.
As the two youngest delegates to present at the conference and the only ones from India, Pranjal and Nishank had the rare opportunity to interact with industry leaders from Schneider Electric, ABB, Eskom and Philips in addition to learning about the work of research scholars from different parts of the world.
“The chairperson of our session acknowledged that the concept presented in our paper was excellent and very innovative. He said that the standard of our project was much higher than what was expected from undergraduate students. Other delegates suggested we file a patent for our unique concept that seemed practically feasible on the commercial stage,” shared the duo.
After their presentation, the students were approached by Mr Robert Fysh from Eskom, who enquired about the possibility of implementation of the idea for two wheeler electric vehicles.
So what was the students’ idea that created such a buzz at the conference?
“A clean and efficient way of generating electricity has been a hot topic ever since we humans realized how the conventional sources of energy have been degrading our environment. Reducing the carbon footprint due to vehicles has been a major field of research, as a result of which we have electric vehicles today,” the students explained.
“A vehicle that is completely dependent on electricity has less efficiency because after a few kilometers the charge of the battery dies down, and the vehicle needs to be charged again for a while, before getting back on the road. In our paper, self-charging of such vehicles is proposed using a new method. The battery gets charged while the vehicle is in motion using PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) films layered on the wheels of the vehicle,” the students elaborated.
The students’ idea was to have PVDF films rolled around the wheels of a vehicle, either two-wheelers or four-wheelers, using redox films as adhesive. Due to the piezoelectric properties of the PVDF film, an AC voltage would be generated from friction when the vehicle was in motion. The redox films would reduce the wear and tear on the PVDF film, without compromising the frictional energy. This energy generated would be harvested through multiple stages of voltage multiplier, voltage boosters and regulators that would recharge the vehicle’s battery. Ultra capacitors would also be used for regenerative braking. The regenerative braking energy could be used for acceleration of the vehicle.
The aim of the conference was to highlight the need and importance of effective energy management in commerce and industry for a sustainable future. Delegates examined alternatives to conventional energy sources such as Solar, Wind, Biogas and Hydro. Manufacturers, scientists and researchers came together to discuss the latest developments for the effective use of all forms of energy.
“Our overall experience was really amazing and enriching,” Pranjal and Nishank concluded.
October 8, 2012
School of Engineering, Bengaluru