A study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Duke Energy indicates that it’s possible to harness wind and solar power to power vehicles with no emissions, at an estimated cost of just $200,000.
The study, published in the journal Science, was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Wind and solar are a great example of a promising technology that is poised to become the first clean energy solution for the United States, but at a low cost,” said study co-author Robert Brackett, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Duke.
The paper found that the power from wind and sun is cheap enough that a family of electric vehicles could be built with an energy efficiency of 30 percent.
“The power from the sun is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of electricity,” said Bracket.
The solar power is generated by sunlight hitting the wind and generating energy, and the wind power is produced by the wind blowing in the direction of the sun.
The wind and the solar can be combined to create the electric vehicle.
“What we found is that this type of power generation is cheap to build, cheap to operate, and cheap to store,” said Dr. Brackets study coauthor David Niedenthal, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
“And that is something that was unknown before.”
The energy produced from wind power and solar energy could be used to power the vehicles without using fossil fuels.
Niedstroenthal said that this new type of energy could also be used for other types of transportation and energy storage.
“This type of solar and wind energy is being applied to the power grid, to energy storage, to power buildings and to energy-intensive industries, all of which will require the use of renewables,” he said.
Niestroenthal pointed out that wind and sunlight can also be combined for power generation, but they are more expensive to use and more difficult to manage than solar power.
“It is a new form of power that could be very useful in the future, and it will not be available for much longer,” he added.
“If it does become a technology, this technology is going to have to be developed with the understanding of the consequences for the environment.”
Niedstein, a researcher at Duke, and Bracketts co-authors David B. Miller and Paul J. Johnson, both of the University at Albany, also reported that it would take nearly three years for wind and other types, such as solar, to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels, and that the cost per kilowatt-hour of wind and/or solar energy will be roughly double the price of conventional electricity.
“While wind and renewable energy are becoming more and more cost-effective, their efficiency will remain low,” Niedsenthal said.
“In order to make renewable energy competitive with fossil fuel energy, they must be developed to be both clean and energy-efficient, but the challenge is how to do that in a way that avoids damaging the environment.
This research demonstrates that a new generation of renewable technologies can be developed, inexpensively and safely, to generate clean and cost-efficient electricity for vehicles.”
The researchers detailed the findings in their report titled, Energy-Efficient Vehicles Using Wind and Solar Power in the Twenty-First Century.
“These findings are important because of their direct impact on the environment,” said Michael R. Fuchs, a former NASA engineer and a member of the NAS.
“They will make it possible to create a clean and efficient alternative to fossil fuels and energy sources that we do not yet have.”
Fuchs said that he is excited about the potential of wind power in a world where cars are driving themselves and that he has been impressed by the efficiency of wind turbines.
“With the technology that we have, I can envision an electric car that could go 100 miles an hour in 30 minutes,” he told NBC News.
This is something I can’t wait to see.” “
Faster, lighter, and less expensive, wind and photovoltaic power could be an exciting way to deliver power to our homes and offices.
This is something I can’t wait to see.”
In addition to Fuchs and Bracks, authors of the report are Robert J. Lea and Richard M. Miller of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Robert A. Parnes of the American Wind Energy Association; and Robert Arent of the Energy Information Administration.
“We are very proud to report that this technology can be realized and deployed at affordable costs,” Miller said.