Sustainability

Flexible solar strips light up campus bus shelter

Posted on June 15, 2009

[IMAGE]shelter-exterior-full.jpg[/IMAGE]New flexible solar cell technology developed by a group of engineering researchers at Hamilton, Ontario-based McMaster University has been installed on a campus shelter to power lighting for night-time transit users. 

The researchers are also hoping that the prototype will help boost efforts to commercialize the new technology. The bus shelter is located on the west side of University Avenue between the John Hodgins Engineering Building and the Life Sciences Building.

“Our goal is to provide a clean, affordable power source for bus shelters that will let transit companies run Internet-based scheduling updates,” said Adrian Kitai, a professor of engineering physics at McMaster who guided the project. “The solar technology can also be used to light up bus shelter signage and provide lighting for general safety.”

The flexible solar cell project started as a master’s thesis for Wei Zhang, who subsequently worked as an engineer in the Department of Engineering Physics. Julia Zhu, a research technician in the department, and Jesika Briones, a master’s of engineering entrepreneurship and innovation graduate, also helped develop the initiative.

The ability to bend the solar cells to fit the curved roof of the bus shelter is one of the main features of the technology. The flexibility is achieved by tiling a large number of small silicon elements into an array, mounting them onto a flexible sheet, and connecting them through a proprietary method.  The two solar strips installed on the McMaster bus shelter are about 35 inches long and 5 inches wide.  Each strip has 720 .39-inch-square solar cells and generates up to 4.5 Watts of power.

With the help of Facility Services at McMaster, a solar strip was mounted at each end of the bus shelter roof and connected to two energy-efficient, multi-LED, light fixtures.  Each light fixture uses only 600 milliwatts of power and produces about the same light output as a three watt regular tungsten bulb or what a small night light would use.  The lights are bright enough for easy reading.

The solar cells capture sunlight during the day and convert it to electricity to recharge batteries located in each lighting unit.  The batteries can hold enough charge to light the shelter for the better part of a night.

The solar cell research team is monitoring the installation to determine how much solar power is required to fully recharge the batteries based on weather conditions.  Winter months will be a particular focus as shorter and overcast days, snow and cold can affect the charging ability of the solar cells and batteries. 

Funding for the initiative was provided through an NSERC strategic grant and an NSERC I2I grant. 

 

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

SF Muni rolls out first New Flyer 'buses of the future'

Sixty brand new electric trolley buses will replace buses that have been in operation for over two decades. Concurrently, through unanimous Board of Supervisors approval, the SFMTA has purchased 61 new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses. The combined purchases are part of the agency’s five-year plan to replace the entire bus fleet.

41% of U.S. public transit buses use alt fuels, hybrid technology

APTA statistics for 2014 show that 16.9% of public transit buses were hybrid-electric. Coming in a close second, public transit systems report that 16.7% of U.S. transit buses used compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and blends. Biodiesel is used by 7.4% of public transit buses. Other alternative fuels, such as propane and hydrogen, account for 0.3%.

Valley Metro to tap solar power for rail ops facility

The new solar plant, which comprises 2,800 solar voltaic panels spanning 1.15 acres, is mounted at ground-level and on parking lot shade canopies. It’s capable of generating 1.3 million Kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy savings annually, or enough electricity to power 123 homes.

Proterra to expand manufacturing of electric buses to California

The proposed facility, to be located in the San Gabriel Valley, is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2015 and will create more than 70 new local jobs. Additionally, the company announced that Foothill Transit, the primary public transit provider of the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys, has placed its fourth order in just five years for Proterra’s EV buses.

Jacksonville Transit, Clean Energy break ground on CNG station

Over the next five years, JTA will replace 100 diesel buses with CNG buses. Many of the buses will support JTA’s 55-mile First Coast Flyer bus rapid transit system.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close