Some of the greatest technological advances in modern day society have involved the improvements of the fuel efficiency in vehicles. However, a challenge arises with a current problem. In electrical systems, electricity is produced directly from the engine through the alternator, using up valuable fuel that could otherwise be used to keep the vehicle in motion. A simple and feasible solution is offered below that may change the idea of vehicle innovations here forth, along with attitudes towards renewable energy.
The proposed solution is the attachment of a wind turbine powered charger to the vehicle that is driven by the motion of the vehicle when traveling. This charger would then power all electronic systems in the vehicle, not directly from the engine or its fuel, but rather by the airflow over the vehicle itself. High traveling speeds will allow more power to be produced, enabling the car’s battery to be recharged, as well as to power all the vehicle extra electronic components. The small size of the charger would allow several units on one vehicle to add extra power in case it’s required. This can be easily made from recyclable materials that are widely available, allowing it to be within the estimated price range of current car alternators. Similar larger scale systems already exist so small-scale adaptations in manufacturing and production will be very easy. The device would eventually pay for itself, adding more sustainability to the system.
Although it can be argued that similar solutions have been previously explored, there are limitations. The regenerative braking system performs a similar task, yet it is operational for a short amount of the total running time. A wind turbine operates as long as the car is in motion, in acceleration and cruising, making up for the majority of the overall running time.
The charger can also be set apart from an alternator or other generating methods in that it does not add extra load to the engine. Its aerodynamics allow any drag to be negligible, an alternator adds friction and, thus, inefficiency to the engine. Also, given the small size of this turbine charger, any surges of electric power caused by high wind speeds as well as the instabilities and other safety factors on the turbine will be much easier to control.
But the one main advantage for the charger would be its ability to be removed from the car and placed in different locations, such as the windows of a house with magnets. In seconds it can easily be installed back and forth between vehicle and home use. The charger could produce enough to power several mobile phones, tablets, or even a laptop computer on windy days.
With this, small devices used in everyday life can be powered completely on renewable energy and in a cost efficient manner. This could be a small social change that could lead to many larger positive innovations in the automobile industry, and large environmental movements towards the usage of efficient renewable energy.