Technical Innovations for Yemen Solar Energy Cars [Archives:1999/04/Science & Technology]

January 25 1999

Solar Cars have been a goal to make for a long time. The idea behind the solar energy cars is converting the solar radiation into electrical energy. The solar radiation is changed into electrical energy through photovoltaic cells. The electrical batteries provide a constant current while the extra energy is sorted in the batteries, to be used after dark, or when the sunshine is not strong enough to be converted into electrical energy. The electrical current obtained is used to drive an appropriate engine, which keeps the car moving. Currently, the batteries are being made better so that they can go for a longer distance and faster. Actually, a series of batteries are usually used, these are recharged to store the electrical energy gained during the day to be used at night. These solar energy cars are operated free of charge. No gasoline or other fuel is needed and consequently, no pollution of hydrocarbons, lead compounds, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides or nitrogen oxides are emitted in the air.
Actually, a solar energy car is an electric car with an onboard electric power source. Its drawbacks are those of electric cars; low maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour and a limited range of 240 kilometers. Progress in rechargeable battery technology will produce lighter and more efficient batteries that will increase the currently limited range of kilometers. The lighter batteries will enable the same amount of energy to move the same car a longer distance and with a higher speed. Lighter cars reduce the overall car weight.
The design of these solar energy cars stresses highly efficient engines, photovoltaic cells and batteries, low resistance body and structure to aerodynamics, thin tires to minimize the friction with the road, simple control instruments and lightweight.
Sooner or later the solar energy cars will be on our roads. The Arab world is the richest region in the whole world in solar energy. The Middle East will be full of solar energy cars be the beginning of the twenty first century. A few experimental solar cars are actually running on the roads these days. Yemen is one of those countries in which the solar energy can be tapped smoothly and needed badly. Unfortunately, nothing has been made to promote, develop and exploit this free type of renewable clean energy. We are stupidly waiting for the solar energy cars and other equipment to be imported from the United States, Europe, Australia, Korea or Japan.
Sunrayce is a car race of solar energy cars. All American solar car designers and producers are supported and allowed to participate to prove the efficiency of their cars on the road. Sunrayce’95 put Indiana State University’s solar car through the ultimate test – is it safe in the event of an accident? This summer’s 1,150-mile (2,070 km) race from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Golden, Colorado, turned away for race route just 30 miles (54 km) from the finish line. While traveling at a speed of 45 mph (72 km), the car fishtailed into a guardrail when its rear tire failed. Nevertheless, the Indiana State University finished the nine-day race in 19th place out of a filed of 38. Massachusetts Institute of Technology won with an average speed of 37.23 mph (60 km). The University of Minnesota finished second, and California Polytechnic Institute, Pomona, placed third. Indiana State University was in 15th place at the time of the accident.
Yemen is advised to support solar energy research.
Future Industries Consultants,