Could solar-powered EV charging stations be able to supply electric vehicles with the energy they need? They may very well be. That appears to be the main finding of a study carried out by a group of scientists from Oregon State University.
Casey L. Steadman and Chad W. Higgins, the researchers, looked at the viability of using agricultural land to produce solar energy for use in recharging electric cars on Oregon’s roadways.
According to research recently published in Scientific Reports, they found that placing agrivoltaic systems next to roads can be advantageous in rural regions where electric charging stations are sparse and most required.
Solar-Powered Charging Stations
The threat presented by the rapidly changing environment to human existence as we know it has increased as global warming continues at an unprecedented rate. The battle to preserve the Earth’s biosphere and climate is being fought on several fronts because, as stated in an IPCC report from April, its “now or never.”
Of course, it is essential to move away from fossil fuels and electrify the transportation sector, but range anxiety, or the worry that one won’t be able to find the next charging station, has shown to be a substantial obstacle to people adopting EVs. The researchers looked at how agrivoltaic technology may be applied to enhance EV charging infrastructure and lessen range anxiety to solve this issue.
In their study, the Oregon State researchers conjured a scenario with the highest traffic demand and the least amount of solar power. The study found 231 rural highway access sites with enough space to enable EV charging stations powered by agrivoltaic installations, and the findings suggested that agrivoltaics may be included in the construction of the infrastructure for charging stations.
It was determined that 12,000 acres (18.75 square miles) of land would be needed to accommodate the demand for EV charging stations at 86 percent of Oregon’s highway access spots.
The researchers looked at an earlier study from Croatia, which discovered that when charging stations are fewer than 3.1 miles apart, users have reduced range anxiety. Gas stations are generally 2.5 to 18 miles apart, according to prior research. The Oregon State team used this range as a starting point for their scenario.
If their plan were completely implemented, the researchers calculated that agrivoltaic-powered EV charging stations could reduce carbon emissions by around 3.1 million tons, which is the same as removing 673,915 automobiles off the road annually.
Overall, the researchers showed that it is feasible to power 86 percent of rural highway access locations throughout the state using agrivoltaics to power rural EV charging stations close to the highway, which only requires 3 percent of the overall land supply.
This is vital since it is usually the case that rural regions lack the grid infrastructure needed to support charging stations. The study found that a shift in energy output to the point of use would be possible using agrivoltaics.
Range anxiety has proven to be a major hurdle that stands in the way of mass electric vehicle adoption. In order to increase adoption and reduce range anxiety, solar-powered EV charging stations can be powered by agrivoltaic systems (AVS) along key rural highways, so passengers don’t have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of nowhere.
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