Centre for Research and Innovation commercializes solar battery charger
Since 2008, Fanshawe researchers Ke Liu and John Makaran have been developing technology to improve alternative energy solutions.
Liu and Makaran have created a kit that retrofits existing golf carts with a solar charger that extends the battery life by 15 to 20 per cent under continuous use conditions. That means in situations where a vehicle makes frequent starts and stops, the vehicle can be driven much longer. The charger has been beta-tested at three golf courses in London and Chatham and has also been installed on a utility vehicle used by the City of London's Parks and Recreation Department, who have been using it since last year.
Recently, the charger was commercialized with the first unit being implemented at London City Chrysler for use on one of their carts.
“You can achieve significant savings on energy with this
technology,” Liu says. “It extracts the maximum amount of sunlight that is available, even if it's a cloudy day. That means the vehicle can be driven longer and uses much less energy for battery charging.”
Makaran is hoping the charger can be retrofitted in other markets, such as hospitals and airport utility vehicles.
The project is funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Fanshawe's Centre for Sustainable Energy and Environments.