Energy optimization through solar cell technology is already a reality in several projects and in the mobility sector it would be no different. In a fleet modernization scenario, there are many direct and indirect benefits in the application of organic photovoltaic films (or OPV) in trucks and heavy vehicles.
Developed by Sunew, the OPV is made of organic, non-toxic, recyclable and lab synthesized materials. Due to all these factors, the technology is considered one of the most sustainable sources for solar energy generation.
Organic, lightweight, flexible and semi-transparent, the OPV adapts to almost any environment in a way that traditional solutions do not. So how would it be possible to extract the maximum efficiency from this technology in the mobility and logistics field?
According to Filipe Ivo, Sunew’s Business Development Director, the automation process of the cargo mobility sector establishes challenges for which the market must prepare itself.
Nowadays, trucks are very different from the robust and analogical vehicles of past times. Features previously present only in luxury cars have become work tools.
Electronic assistants, embedded technology, telemetry services and vehicle control systems are here to stay, increasing productivity and avoiding unnecessary maintenance. On the other hand, this wide range of improvements has made the vehicles great dependents of mobile batteries
Given this new demand created by automation, promoting the energy efficiency of vehicle fleets with the use of organic photovoltaic films can be both environmentally and economically beneficial.
OPV and mobility: benefits of its integration to the fleet
Ensuring the logistics chain’s financial viability creates countless challenges for the market.
Problems so far considered unavoidable, such as high equipment replacement costs and unscheduled maintenance, opportunity costs and logistics operations failures can be solved by integrating other energy sources into vehicle fleets.
According to João Victor Nunes, Sunew’s electrical engineer, “fleet electrification has the potential to solve a variety of bottlenecks. With different usabilities, the OPV converts sunlight into energy capable of powering electrical components, without activating traditional batteries or using fossil fuel. This new energy source provides more autonomy and lifetime to vehicle batteries, reducing maintenance costs and environmental impacts”.
The OPV solution for trucks is extremely resistant, light and flexible. It is coated in PET, which makes it more robust and resistant to shaking, weather and hail, and has great diffused light absorption capacity. Its versatility allows it to be successfully applied in several fleet models.
The different uses of OPV in fleets
In vehicles with embedded technology, the photovoltaic film is connected to charge controllers, which function as the operations’ brain. In an autonomous way, the system generates energy using only sunlight and provides all the necessary power for the cabin equipment.
In case of excess production, the available energy is injected into the primary battery, so that it is always at its correct operational level. This means continuity of the truck’s electrical functions, with less discharges and less maintenance.
In semi-trailers, which work independently of the truck tractor, the technology works connected to the auxiliary battery, not the vehicle’s main battery. All the energy generated maintains the functioning of the installed equipment, such as electronic locks and GPS. The surplus produced will help to recharge the battery, avoiding shutdowns or interruptions in the operation of electronic equipment.
Another type of truck that can have its electrical functions optimized through the OPV is the refrigerated ones (reefers). In this type of vehicle, the organic photovoltaic film system is interconnected to the battery that activates the engine responsible for cooling the cargo.
Making sure there is no interruption in this battery’s charging, the ideal temperature of the transported cargo is maintained, reducing losses of goods and financial costs.
Energy as a service: rethinking mobility
In 2019, the logistic and cargo chain in Brazil registered a profit of R$ 369.9 billion, and showed signs that it is in a reinvention process to follow the market’s new demands. Denying the new technologies can mean losses in an increasingly competitive scenario.
The generation of solar energy adds more sustainability to the production chain and reduces carbon emissions, generating valuable operational impacts for companies and their corporate images.
“The constant oscillations in the continuity of the logistic chain need to be faced objectively, and not as everyday situations. Take as an example trucks waiting for repairs or successive battery changes. So far treated as normal, the frequent interruptions for unplanned maintenance in vehicles cause financial and operational costs that could be avoided”, explains Felipe Ivo, Sunew’s Business Development Director.
The director goes even further, he says, “less maintenance on the vehicles leads to more availability of the trucks and reduces costs by not having to rely on so many vehicles to supply the need for eventual casualties in the fleet”. “With a much smaller investment in OPV, it solves much bigger problems, generating revenue for the company”, concluded Ivo.
Equipping fleets with OPV ensures more efficient production processes and a significant reduction in logistical bottlenecks.
Would you like to learn more about OPV and mobility and other benefits of organic photovoltaic films? Watch Sunew’s webinar on OPV and mobility with Q&As from different experts on the subject.