In the next phase of the Living Smart Campus project ‘Solar powered e-bikes,’ a solar charging station for e-bikes will be installed on the campus of the University of Twente.
The charging station will be placed next to the Spiegel and offers one of the three charging techniques which participants in the project can opt to use. The other two are namely an integrated solar wheel in an e-bike and a home charging kit. This new charging stations provides 100% green energy for six e-bikes at the same time. When the design of the charging station will be fully secured against theft and resistant to vandalism, it will be installed in the upcoming months. Dr Angèle Reinders (ARISE at Design, Production and Management, UT), who initiated the Living Smart Campus project ‘Solar powered e-bikes’, has been designing the charging station together with colleagues from Facility Management and the companies ‘Bordbusters’ (construction SLBS), ‘Zelziuz’ (PV panels and Invertor) and ‘IpsumEnergy’ (measurement equipment). Zelziuz and IpsumEnergy are both located in the region, so together with the UT this is a good example of national and regional innovative partnership with a potential global impact.
The aim is to install the solar charging station in October this year, so that the 24 participants who are willing to participate in this next phase of the Living Smart Campus project, can start charging their own e-bikes at this UT solar charging station.
Prototype home charging panel
The third alternative charging technique in this project, is the use of a solar charging system at home. Bachelor student Nino Bolink designed a prototype for a home charging kit. This unique prototype will be used for the further development of five home charging kits, which will be tested with real users in the following phase of the ‘Solar powered e-bike’ project.
Results of testing e-bikes with integrated solar cells
In the first test phase of this project, over 130 participants at the Universities of Twente and Eindhoven have used the first prototype solar-bike with the integrated solar cells into their wheels. These e-bikes were developed by the Technical University of Eindhoven, as part of the ‘4TU.Bouw Lighthouse Solar Bike project,’ in which Professor Karst Geurs (Centre for Transport Studies, UT and Dr Pauline van den Berg (Eindhoven University of Technology, Urban Science and Systems) are involved.
Results of the first research phase show that respondents in general are satisfied with the performance of the solar bike and solar-bikes can potentially replace existing bike trips and car trips. However, the likelihood of university staff to buy the prototype solar-bike is small. Redesigning the solar-bike to reduce crosswind and giving feedback to users on the energy produced by the integrated solar panels will be important to make the solar-bike more attractive.
LIVING SMART CAMPUS
The ‘Solar powered e-bike’ project is part of the University of Twente’s Living Smart Campus programme, which is aimed at fulfilling the potential of the campus. The Living Smart Campus programme is a collection of campus development projects (involving education, research and/or the support departments) which use the campus as a living lab.
More information is available at: www.utwente.nl/livingsmartcampus