Solar panels in truck trailers are expected to save a lot of fuel. In Sweden, there is enough sunlight from spring to autumn to generate energy and although the sun is weak except during summer, there are more hours of sunlight. During the rest of the year, there is insufficient sun in Sweden. By contrast, southern Spain has 80 percent more hours of sunlight. (Photo Credit: Scania)
- Scania is all set to develop a solar cell clad trailer that can power plug-in hybrid trucks
- Initial tests indicate possible fuel savings of 5 to10 percent in Sweden, where the solar panels are expected to annually generate 14,000 kWh
- In Southern Spain, the fuel saved may be double as they receive more sunlight
- The research project to examine if the trailer can feed electricity into the grid when the batteries are fully charged and the truck is parked
- The project is funded by the Swedish government’s innovation agency Vinnova, local solar module manufacturer Midsummer, research university Uppsala and Dalakraft energy company.
Major Swedish manufacturer of heavy commercial vehicles, Scania, is all set to develop a solar cell clad trailer that can power plug-in hybrid trucks. Initial tests indicate possible fuel savings of 5 to 10 percent in Sweden and twice that amount in sunny southern Spain. In total, the solar panels are expected to annually generate 14,000 kWh in Sweden.
Collaborating with Scania is Swedish haulier Ernst Express, who will be operating the 18-metre long trailer in daily assignments. The company will also be involved in trails of the world’s first electric road with overhead catenary lines.
Eric Falkgrim, Technology Leader in Vehicle Design at Scania R&D said “Solar cells have previously been employed on boats and caravans but then only to power auxiliaries such as refrigerators and cookers and not the actual powertrain.”
The project is publicly funded by the Swedish government’s innovation agency Vinnova and apart from Scania and Ernst Express, other companies who have been engaged are Swedish solar module maker Midsummer, Uppsala University, which conducts advanced research on high efficiency solar cells, and Dalakraft energy company.
The research project will also examine whether the trailer can feed electricity into the grid when the batteries are fully charged and the truck is parked, for example, over weekends.
This is not the first time the government in Sweden has come all out in support of innovative solar initiatives. In the previous year, Swedish government backed power company Vattenfall had announced building its first floating solar farm in the Netherlands. (see Vattenfall Announces Its First Floating Solar Farm)