Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • Icon for: Nick Ruktanonchai

    Nick Ruktanonchai

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 03:52 p.m.

    Interesting idea! Nice job with calculating a predicted impact. How much do you think those fresnel lenses would weigh on a car—do you think it would influence most cars’ performance? Do you think it might also be useful in other applications, such as trains?

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 06:16 p.m.

    The Fresnel lenses on their own would only weigh about 60 pounds. When compared to the weight of a car, which is around 4000 pounds, the effect of the weight of the Fresnel lenses would be almost insignificant. Also, an advantage of using Fresnel lenses over traditional convex lenses is their thinness, which would have a very low impact on the car’s aerodynamics. Photovoltaic paint and Fresnel lenses with solar cells could be implemented on trains successfully since trains have a large surface area on both the body and roof, which would allow more solar cells and Fresnel lenses to be placed and more paint to be applied, thus compensating for the larger amount of energy required to operate the train. Implementation on other modes of transportation such as public buses and even airplanes is possible as well.
    — Solar High Rollers

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 08:58 p.m.

    I agree, nice job thinking through what the benefits could be. Have you experimented with any version of this technology? Or have you talked with some people who know cars really well) to discuss implementation issues? I think if it were easy and reliable, it could catch on fast!

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 10, 2015 | 09:54 p.m.

    Although we have not discussed our issue with a car expert or experimented extensively with this technology, we were able to think of some possible issues that might arise.
    Since the power from our innovation goes directly to a battery, which then powers the car, if the cells and paint generate more electricity than can be stored in the battery there could be potentially harmful results. To solve this issue, power could be diverted from the battery to directly power the car’s motor when the battery is full.
    Another potential issue is that the heat concentrated onto the solar cells could affect the temperature of the car. This issue could be solved by placing an insulating layer, such as Aerogel, between the cells and the car’s roof.
    These issues are the ones we found more prominent. If we were to test our innovation, we may discover other issues with implementation in the car, and solutions to these issues would then be developed.

  • Icon for: Kate Skog

    Kate Skog

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 11:14 p.m.

    Very interesting topic. Since you’re focusing light onto a smaller area have you considered the potential for generating hot spots on the solar cell? How might this affect the overall temperature of the rest of the car?

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 04:10 p.m.

    Hot spots on the solar cells may be generated, which could reduce their functionality. This issue can be resolved by running a coolant similar to the one used to cool the engine of the car through the solar cells to regulate the temperatures of the cells. Although concentrating the sunlight could overheat the solar panels it is unlikely that it will affect the car’s temperature. If we are able to experiment with this technology and find that it does affect the car’s temperature, we could add an insulating layer, such as foam or Aerogel, between the cells and the car’s roof.
    — Solar High Rollers

  • Icon for: Sergey Stavisky

    Sergey Stavisky

    Judge
    June 9, 2015 | 01:58 a.m.

    Great work, Harshal, Derek, John, and Nathan. You eloquently articulate the problem you’re going after and the benefit of Fresnel lens technology combined with PV paint. My question is: what are some advantages of generating electricity on cars versus having the same car-owners spend a comparable amount to buy photovoltaic panels for their homes (and perhaps indirectly charge their electric cars this way)?

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 03:57 p.m.

    Generating electricity at home would allow the car to charge while at home, but not when it is in motion. Our idea allows the driver to charge their car while they are driving, increasing the usefulness of the electricity generated. Another advantage is that our idea is much cheaper, costing significantly less than the tens of thousands of dollars that solar panels on homes cost.
    — Solar High Rollers

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    June 8, 2015 | 06:50 p.m.

    I like your project however the idea of photovoltaic paint on cars has already been invented by Nano Flex Power Corp. Is your product an innovation based off of their idea? How does yours differ?

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 09:48 p.m.

    Our product is an innovation based off of the invention of NanoFlex Power Corporation’s, however that is not the only aspect of our idea. Fresnel lenses and photovoltaic cells will also implemented on the roof of the car to help decrease the environmental impact of the cars, and they will work in conjunction with the photovoltaic paint.

  • Icon for: Divya Gandla

    Divya Gandla

    June 9, 2015 | 07:30 p.m.

    I really like the idea of turning each car into its own powerhouse. There are over a billion cars worldwide, and it would be very beneficial if even a small portion of them incorporated your design. I just have a few questions. How much do you approximate the photovoltaic paint and Fresnel lenses costing per car? Also, if a person were to get into a car accident and damage the car, would all four layers of the paint need to be reapplied? I imagine that the dye-sensitized solar cell layer would be the most expensive to reapply. Additionally, I believe that extending your innovation to trucks, buses, and other large automobiles would generate even more green energy.

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 08:55 p.m.

    The combined cost of the Fresnel lens and solar cell assembly and the photovoltaic paint is an estimated $3500.
    Replacement of the paint would depend on the severity of the crash. If the car were to get into a very mild accident, the paint may not need to be reapplied at all. If the accident is more severe, then the paint may need to be reapplied, but possibly only in the affected area.
    Extending our innovation to trains is feasible, since they operate much more efficiently than buses and trucks. Although our innovation may help for trucks and buses it might not have a significant enough impact for the cost to be appealing to consumers.

  • Icon for: Divya Gandla

    Divya Gandla

    June 9, 2015 | 11:36 p.m.

    The incorporation of your idea to trains seems like a successful venture. Their operations are pre-planned so the trains which yield the most output (based on the environment traveled through) in simulations could have the solar cell assembly and Freshnel lenses. However, do the benefits of your system outweigh the costs of the Fresnel lens and solar cell assembly for a personal automobile like a family car?

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 10, 2015 | 09:42 p.m.

    One benefit of our system is that, in the long run, it saves its user money. Similarly to solar panels that people install on their homes, our innovation will pay itself off, since the amount of gasoline a car must use is reduced. After the innovation has paid itself off, the user will continue to save money from the higher efficiency of his or her car.
    Another benefit of our innovation is that it reduces the environmental impact of an automobile by increasing the car’s efficiency and lowering its dependence on nonrenewable energy sources.

  • Icon for: Matthew Feng

    Matthew Feng

    June 11, 2015 | 05:28 p.m.

    I think this idea has many merits. Do you think it would be possible to turn this idea into one that is not only functional, but fashionable as well? Many people care about the look of their cars. Do you have any mockups for what the car would look like?

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 07:13 p.m.

    When we designed our innovation we kept the idea that people care about the aesthetic appeal of their car in mind. The photovoltaic paint will not affect the car;s appearance very much, since the color of the paint layer is customizable. The Fresnel lenses and solar cells will, however, affect the appearance of the car. A large advantage that Fresnel lenses have over convex lenses is their slim profile. Since the lenses will not protrude very far from the top of the car, they will not affect the car’s appearance very much.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

  1. Harshal Shah
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Solar High Rollers
  1. Derek Colby
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Solar High Rollers
  1. John Greer
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Solar High Rollers
  1. Nathan Kwon
  2. Presenter’s INNOVATETOMITIGATE
  3. Solar High Rollers

Improving Automoblie Efficency Using Fresnel Lenses and Photovoltaic Paint

Solar energy harnessing technologies are not widely implemented due to their lack of sufficient power output. Our team proposes the use of two techniques on cars to increase the power output from solar energy harnessing technologies. Photovoltaic paint is one technology that can be implemented on cars. These paints are advantageous due to their ability to cover a large surface area, and can be painted onto the entire surface of a car. The second innovation, implementing a Fresnel lens on a multi-junction solar cell, can utilize a power several times stronger than regular sunlight in a small area, greatly increasing the output of solar cells. Gas powered cars can use these technologies to power internal components such as air conditioning, lights and radio. This allows people to run electronics without worrying about batteries dying, while also reducing the amount of CO2 being released by idling cars. If an electric or hybrid car is able to successfully use these concepts, the amount of power drawn from the grid will be reduced, cutting down on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air from power plants. The Fresnel lenses and solar cells would be located on the roof of the car, to maximize the area they can cover. The paint would cover the surface of the rest of the car. Fresnel lenses and photovoltaic paints, in addition to their low costs, have low impacts on the overall design of the car, and do not largely affect the aerodynamics of the car.