Researchers from several teams have pooled their resources to create a solar-powered air conditioning system for freight trucks. The renewable energy research labs at Mitsubishi, ICL Co. Ltd., and Nippon Fruehauf have developed a system that uses solar panels on top of 18-wheel transport trucks to power the air conditioner. The panels are made of Mitsubishi Chemical photovoltaic (PV) cells attached to a Nippon Fruehauf mount, creating broad panels that attach to the roof of a truck container.
These solar panels draw upon existing ICL Co. Ltd. Technology: the eco-friendly “i-Cool” system. The i-Cool air conditioner has a storage battery, which preserves electricity when the truck is moving to be used when the engine is off. Adding solar cells to the mix ensure that the battery always stays charged. These simple innovations save about 1% of a truck’s fuel yearly. According to Phys Org, if all 1.4 million of Japan’s trucks used this solar panels and i-Cool air conditioning, the country would reduce its carbon footprint by 1.65 million tons each year. The savings in energy would be even greater in the Sunbelt regions in the United States, where air conditioning used more.
This solar-panel air conditioning technology is being tested on trucks today, but could be ready for the market in 2012. The Japanese company, Kyocera, is designing a similar product that’s compatible with future Toyota Prius cars. Using the sun to help power air conditioning could help the planet a little in the long run.
Do you own a hybrid?
Is this technology progressive, or is it a band-aid for our addition to fossil fuels?
Source: Edwards, Lin. “Introducing the i-Cool Solar air conditioning for trucks.” Phys Org. Retrieved from Physorg.com.
Photo: Via Tech on.