My Dream – Traveling using Renewable Energy (An Idea)

Traveling-using-renewable-energy-2

How does the idea of traveling using renewable energy sound to you? To be more precise, I am talking about traveling in a car using the electricity produced by solar panels and portable/foldable wind-mills.  I might even want to travel and live in that car for extended periods of time (say 3-4 weeks at a stretch). Sounds impossible? Sounds insane?

Welcome to my dream :)

Goal: To travel (and live in) a vehicle totally powered by renewable energy technologies like solar panels, wind-mills, etc.

Constraints: It’s just a dream now. Obviously there are more constraints than what you or me can imagine.

Initial investment: Let us assume that the initial investment for the project is not a constraint. Only then, we’ll get to the best possible technical solution. After arriving at that, we can see what can be compromised.

Recurring expenditure: Minimum. The aim is to travel and live without spending much.

People following my blog know my passion for traveling around my city and perhaps even outside my city. Till now, I travel around where ever I am put up and hence most of my travels are an one-day affair. In the future, I want to be able to travel around India but at a very minimum cost. This dream project of mine will enable me to do the same.

Let me get down to the (main) individual components of my dream project.

1. Light/Small Commercial Vehicle – Like the Tata RX Pickup. Of course, a lot of modifications need to be done as shown in the diagram.

2. Battery Powered – This is very crucial. All our vehicles run using petrol or diesel engines. But I want a hybrid vehicle or a fully-electric vehicle with a large battery capacity. Only then I will be able to charge it using solar panels and micro wind-mills.

3. Solar Panels – I prefer amorphous thin-film solar panels as they could be just laid (stuck) over the roof of the vehicle. They are flexible and better than crystalline panels for a hot country like India. This will generate electricity during the day.

4. Micro Wind-Mills – I want foldable/portable micro wind-mills that can generate electricity using the breeze in the region, when erected in open places. It should be foldable and easy to carry. This will generate electricity during the nights. This is not exactly new or impossible and it was already used in the wind-explorer project.

Rest of the design should be evident from the above diagram. But it is just a crude sketch of what I want and items can be added and subtracted. I still don’t understand how I am going to take bath or if mobile toilets are available (and can be taken in a car).

The biggest issue however, is how much electricity can be generated in an average day and if that will be sufficient to power the vehicle and everything inside it. First of all, we have a very few electric vehicles in India but let us hope for more options soon.

I have used an induction stove that can run using electricity and it can boil water (at the minimum). So, cooking basic dishes on the go may not be a big issue. I am also planning to grow small vegetable plants, if possible and consume them while traveling. You are wondering what is a clay fridge? Have a look at this site.

Any suggestions for improvement and problems that I overlooked, are highly welcome in the comments. This may or may not be possible but if I can make it, I will be a happy man :)

Destination Infinity

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21 thoughts on “My Dream – Traveling using Renewable Energy (An Idea)

  1. great. i had thought of such an option too sometime earlier. the outer portions of the car, truck that is exposed can have a form of solar panels that can generate power to charge a battery. maybe the first charge can be by an electricity point at home and then once the vehicle is on the road, the battery can be charged simultaneously by the solar panels.

    1. Yes, the vehicle should be able to be charged using electricity at home too. You can do that with electric vehicles. The main issue is, even if we cover the car fully with solar panels, we may still not be generating enough energy to power the vehicle to run long distance.

      Also, the car batteries can (at present) run only for 125 Miles (per charge, max), but that capacity will be insufficient. There are considerable challenges to be overcome, but nothing impossible.

      Destination Infinity

    1. If an OEM designs such a vehicles, we could benefit a lot. They have excellent know-how, sourcing, quality processes and man-power to make things happen faster and cheaper. But I doubt if this project will be taken up by any major automobile manufacturer, mainly due to lack of mass selling appeal. It’s up to us to create and demonstrate the demand. They will surely follow.

      Destination Infinity

  2. Great idea Rajesh! It sounds really possible and eco-friendly… I too dream for a vehicle with basic facilities to travel along side staying, since I find hard seeking accommodation while traveling because of immobile.

    My best wishes for your dream come true… :)

    1. That plane completed a short inter-continental tour (few kilo-meters, actually). But still its a major achievement. I hope solar technology will progress fast in order for me to achieve my dream…

      Destination Infinity

    1. No, I want to fund it myself. It may take a longer time that way, but I can use that time to learn and take advantage of the reducing price/higher efficiency of new-generation solar technologies.

      Destination Infinity

  3. Fantastic idea, and I agree such technology will be possible in the future, the the key here is, as you have well explained, being able to sustain travelling for almost free (if you exclude the cost of technology). That said, I think you need to focus on each piece of technology in a little more detail – for example: Motion-energy, this is primary way of generating energy or motion power. Now – you do intend to have a wind turbine (albeit a mini one) but a far better way of collecting energy or converting energy is to use the motion of the car – i.e. when the car is on the move. Clever piece of technology could use gears attached to each wheel which constantly will generate enough energy to charge your battery.

    The batteries, however, haven’t really developed in terms of technology advancement to store big charges for longer and as a result the main expense will be to house enough batteries in your car and to maintain them in all weathers.

    1. Yes, having enough batteries and maintaining them might be a huge expense today but I already know a couple of projects that are close to delivering excellent energy storage technologies for renewable energy projects. Let us hope that one of them will be ultra-successful and will be available in India as well.

      As far as generating energy using the motion of the car’s tires, I have thought about it but I am not sure what kind of technology exists to actually capture it and store it. With electric cars, this should be easily possible. Wonder why they are ignoring it. I for one, have seen dynamos in cycles which generate light as the wheel rotates. So, its possible to do what you say. Just that we need someone to go ahead and do it!

      Destination Infinity

  4. I wouldn’t have any technical inputs to offer, but I do hope you are able to achieve your dream. If you visit Mumbai, I shall certainly treat you to lunch!

    1. I too hope I’ll be able to achieve my dream. It’s difficult in the Indian context because a very few electric cars are available here. But some policy changes might bring in more cars, lets see. Driving to Mumbai is long distance and if I am able to do it, I will definitely bring it there :)

      Destination Infinity

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