Valencian Pioneers propose a system to endow solar energy to public transport vehicles

Each bus could stop emitting an average of fourteen tons of CO2 equivalents per year into the atmosphere

Many efforts have being made by the cities in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. Nowadays most of our cities are dependent on contaminant based resources to carry out an efficient public transport systems.

The climate change issue

The public transport service is aligned with all municipalities priorities and restrictions taking into account user´s needs, frequency and budgeting conditions.

Currently, in many European cities buses prototype are being tests, using non conventional fuels (such as biofuels, natural gas, hydrogen, etc) and exploring new technologies, charging points speed,  security issues or accessibility among others.

From the “Pioneers into Practice” Programme, a team of four pioneers -three coming from Valencia and one from Portugal- have being developing an idea that would allow significant fuel savings and important CO2 reductions in bus fleets.

The project solution

The “Solar Adhesive” project proposal is intended to install photovoltaic solar cells on the city buses surfaces. With these cells most of the electricity needs will be covered: air conditioning, heating, internal and external lighting, ramps and doors will be operative without any other energy devices.

The existing available technology provides with transparent and flexible photovoltaic solar cells, which can be adhered and adapted to any kind of surface. The structure and aesthetic apperence would remain unchanged, therefore the implementation of the project wouldavoid any overweight and would comply with the safety regulations. Moreover, the installation costs would be very low.

Beside the use of someperovskite-based photovoltaic materials, which are currently studied at the Universities laboratories of the University Jaume IofCastellónand the Univiersity ofValencia, some high storage capacity graphenebatteries could be also implemented. The selection of these materials have been decided after the study of the state-of-the-art and taken into account the efficiency of the available materials as well as the cost, without forgetting its performance in terms of energy production in relation to the consumption estimations.

Given the existing technological resources available in the market and its nominal efficiency, the return on investment (ROI) could roughly be estimated between six to eight months, via energy and fuel savings. In addition, with a system like the one suggested, each bus could stop emitting an average of fourteen tons of CO2 equivalents into the atmosphere. The Valencian municipality has a fleet of 480 buses, which would mean about 6,000 Tn of CO2 eq. less emissions per year. How many buses are in the entire fleet of your city’s public transportation?

The project is at its preliminary stages, deep analysis together with the different stakeholders will be needed in order to obtain the best way of its usage on transport vehicles.

The role of Climate-KIC

“Transitional Thinking” methodology has been the approach used to perform the various analyses and studies and obtain these preliminary conclusions. This methodology is taught and applied in different individual and group projects included on the PIP Programme.

In short, the project idea of a flexible photovoltaic panel adhered to the buses surface is a sustainable application, reasonably cheap and accessible, that seeks a palliative solution to fuel consumption and greenhouse gases emissions for public transport sector and for each city by improving air quality and economy of each City Council.