Our work

Solar Powered Transportation

TNO is working to make solar-powered cars a reality. The transportation network is being revolutionized by electric vehicles. These vehicles need a sustainable energy source of electricity. Solar cells and modules are a solution, not just for plug-in charging but on the vehicle body itself.

More than 50 million electric vehicles are expected to be on the road by 2025. To contribute to the energy transition, they will need sustainable electricity sources. Integrating solar cells and modules into the car body itself can potentially offer:

  • up to 20,000 km/year pure solar-powered driving;
  • increase electric vehicle range;
  • increase vehicle autonomy;
  • make vehicles a smart and integral part of the power grid and distribution network.

Significant innovation and research

For PV to make a substantial contribution to the drive train of the car requires significant innovations in how PV components are built. They will be moving through dynamic environments and need to perform well under direct sunlight and also partial shade. They need to be lightweight and flexible to follow the aerodynamic lines of the car. This requires research in materials and integration processes. They need to be durable to not only perform electrically but also withstand the mechanical stresses, scratches, bumps, and dings that any car encounters. And of course, they need to be beautiful and sexy.

Challenges

At TNO, we are solving the challenges of integrating PV into the car body. We work with materials suppliers, vehicle parts suppliers, vehicle OEM companies, Dutch solar-racing teams, and European and international experts to explore the possibilities of solar powered vehicles. We think about the vehicle as not only private autonomous transportation mode, but also as a smart and green mobile power station.

Partners

TNO, together with University of Twente, TKI Urban Energy, and RVO, are leading Activity 1.2 of the IEA PVPS Task 17. This activity is focused on identifying the requirements, barriers, and solutions for vehicle integrated PV (VIPV) on a global scale with the aim to make solar-powered cars a reality all over the world.

Knowledge

Smart integration of solar energy into our environment

Solar energy plays a decisive role in the energy transition. By 2050, solar power could cover at least a quarter of our energy needs. This requires a great deal of effort in a large number of areas. TNO... Read more
Our work

The first solar-powered passenger car: solar cells in the bodywork

In 2021, the Lightyear One will be launched, the first fully solar-powered passenger car with solar cells integrated in the roof, bonnet and tailgate. This world first has been possible thanks to technology... Read more
Our work

Solar energy in road surfaces and crash barriers

Integrating solar panels into roads and crash barriers are solutions for the production of large-scale and invisible solar energy without the need for additional space. The idea is therefore to give as... Read more
Our work

Solar Highways: noise barrier produces energy

World first: a 400-metre long five-metre high motorway noise barrier incorporating 1,600 square metres of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity on both sides. This gives the barrier a second... Read more
Our work

A new generation of solar panels incorporated into facades

After years of research, experimentation and testing, a new generation of solar panels comes onto the market that can be discretely incorporated into large surfaces. The solar-powered facade panels were... Read more
Our work

Solar cells on crash barriers: first phase of unique pilot project completed

TNO, together with the province of North Holland and various partners, has carried out research into the safe and sustainable generation of energy by means of flexible solar foil on crash barriers. With... Read more
Our work

Solar electricity generation in public road infrastructure

In the Interreg EMR project “Rolling Solar” seven research entities and thirteen companies collaborate on the development and demonstration of PV-integrated road elements and road infrastructure, to generate... Read more
Our work

Noise barriers and crash barriers produce solar energy

For a long time, it has been technically possible to install solar cells in noise barriers, but the cost of doing so is high while efficiency is relatively low. TNO has now succeeded in devising and building... Read more
Contact

Dr Bonna Newman

  • PV Modules

FOLLOW TNO ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Stay up to date with our latest news, activities and vacancies

TNO.nl collects and processes data in accordance with the applicable privacy regulations for an optimal user experience and marketing practices.
This data can easily be removed from your temporary profile page at any time.
You can also view our privacy statement or cookie statement.