24 March 2018 
25 September 2017

Solar energy with increasing appeal

Thanks to considerable cost reductions in photovoltaic modules, solar energy holds increasing appeal for use in the mobility sector. Depending on the type of application, even diesel fuel for trucks can be replaced by photovoltaics to some extent. Fraunhofer ISE has carried out and evaluated yield analyses of PV power supply for commercial vehicles, such as refrigerated transport vehicles.

Photo: Fraunhofer ISEPhoto: Fraunhofer ISE
Principle of the vehicle-integrated PV modules for refrigerated semitrailers
Based on its findings, the institute sees great potential in this field and is working together with partners from the logistics and automotive sectors to conduct research into special PV modules for use in commercial vehicles. The aim is to integrate the modules in the truck roofs to supply power for driving the vehicle or for cooling goods.

Employing photovoltaics in commercial vehicles can contribute to reducing diesel consumption and lowering costs, cutting CO2 emissions from haulage in the process and thus meeting environmental and climate protection targets within the transport sector. “In developing a solar-active vehicle shell, we want to make photovoltaic technology available to the logistic sector and contribute to lowering the cost of logistics as a result,” states Matthieu Ebert, Head of the Team for Module Efficiency and New Concepts at Fraunhofer ISE.

Whereas other economic sensibility studies conducted on the use of PV in commercial vehicles have, to date, been based on simulations with artificial weather data, working in collaboration with a logistics firm and a haulage company, Fraunhofer ISE has equipped and commissioned several semitrailers with irradiance sensors, and as a result has been able to measure insolation potential in real-life logistics operations. Irradiance data were collected and analyzed at Fraunhofer ISE for a period of around six months. A total of six 40 tonne refrigerated semitrailers were fitted with appropriate irradiance sensors and travelled their standard routes in the US and Europe – from Prague to Mallorca, Paris to Munich. The data gathered were then evaluated by Fraunhofer ISE according to a range of criteria. The scientists calculated the savings in liters of diesel per vehicle, as the average of liters of diesel across all routes and vehicles, and in liters of diesel for three geographic regions. “When you merge the data collected for the roofs that could potentially be fitted with PV modules, this allows you to make reliable statements about the viability of such systems,” says Ebert.

“Based on our calculations, we anticipate that a 40 tonne refrigerated semitrailer with a roof area of 36 m2 equipped with PV modules (nominal power of 6 kW) could save up to 1,900 L of diesel fuel per year,” he adds. One important finding of the study, is that the fuel savings, and thus the viability of the initiative, are heavily dependent on vehicle deployment regions and usage scenarios. In future, the insights gained from the measurement campaign will allow Ebert and his team to advise logistics companies on questions regarding the economic viability of using PV, and on the PV technology that is most suited to their needs.

In order to minimize any additional load on the refrigerated semitrailers, vehicle-integrated PV modules need to be developed that are as lightweight and efficient as possible. Furthermore, a unique design will be required to enable the PV modules to be fitted to vehicle roofs without exceeding the maximum vehicle heights permitted under road traffic regulations.

Such modules must be extremely compact and able to withstand dynamic mechanical stress caused, for example, by vibrations during travel. Fraunhofer ISE is supporting the development of lightweight modules by contributing its many years of expertise in module technology and testing. Specialist synergies at the research institute in the fields of power electronics and systems technology help in developing all the necessary components, and in ensuring that they interact properly within the overall system.

PV modules and systems can also be tested under real conditions in transport operations. Ebert and his team at Fraunhofer ISE offer field tests to interested companies and collaborative partners in the logistics and vehicle construction sectors. The test results can then be used as a basis for individual yield analyses and for calculating savings potential.


More news about "photovoltaic ":

19 March 2018

EnerSolar: Renewable Energies in Brasilia

EnerSolar + Brasil - International Fair of Technologies for Solar Energy, reaches its 7th edition featuring the latest technologies, products and services from all segments of the Solar and Wind Energy, photovoltaic and biomass productive chain. (more…)

12 February 2018

ENEX 2018: Packed with energy and ecology

Power engineering, photovoltaics, heat pumps - these are just some of the themes of the 22nd International Power Industry Fair ENEX and the 17th Renewable Energy Sources Expo ENEX New Energy. (more…)

19 October 2017

RE & EE Vietnam: Renewable energy technologies

RE & EE Vietnam, Vietnam's leading renewable energy and energy efficiency exhibition, will take place in SECC, Ho Chi Minh City from 8 to 10 November 2017. The exhibition will be welcoming several international pavilions, including China, Germany, Taiwan and the UK. (more…)

19 October 2017

The Solar Revolution is just starting

The 33rd solar research conference EU PVSEC 2017, which took place in Amsterdam from 25 - 29 September 2017, ended with 1,107 presentations and therefore again is the world's largest photovoltaic scientific conference. (more…)

4 October 2017

productronica: semiconductors in focus

Semiconductors will play a major role at the productronica 2017: For the first time, the Munich-based trade fair takes place in parallel with SEMICON Europe. Visitors also will benefit from a comprehensive supporting program with top-rate conferences. (more…)

9 May 2017

Lorries powered by sun

Solar energy holds increasing appeal for use in the mobility sector. Depending on the application, even diesel fuel for trucks can be replaced by photovoltaics to some extent. Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE has carried out and evaluated yield analyses of PV power supply for commercial vehicles, such as refrigerated transport vehicles, using real-life solar irradiance data. (more…)

28 April 2017

New Hall 5 for Messe Frankfurt

At Messe Frankfurt, the existing Hall 5 will be demolished as of the end of 2019 once modernisation work has been completed on the adjacent Hall 6. The new Hall 5, the design for which also includes a photovoltaic system in the roof, is to be completed by the end of 2022. (more…)

3 April 2017

Great Response to EU PVSEC 2017 Call For Papers

Over 1250 have been received for the Call for Papers of the 33rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from 25 - 29 September 2017. The abstracts were received from authors in 70 countries. (more…)

19 September 2016

On growth course

The sold-out trade fair Energy Storage Europe this year is expanding its exhibition space on the Düsseldorf trade fair grounds for the next event in 2017. (more…)


07/04/2018 - 08/04/2018 in Osnabrück
Die Energiemesse
07/04/2018 - 10/04/2018 in Augsburg
10/04/2018 - 13/04/2018 in Nürnberg
Sanitation, Heating, Air-Conditioning, Renewable Energies
11/04/2018 - 11/04/2018 in Basel
23/04/2018 - 27/04/2018 in Hannover
Energy / Hannover Messe
Leading Trade Show for Integrated Energy Systems and Mobility
15/05/2018 - 17/05/2018 in Hannover
Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Europe

Stay up-to-date: Subscribe to our exclusive newsletter "Energies" and keep an eye on international trade fair business - free of charge, once per month.
Your email address:
© 2018 by Connex AG