TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Amphibious Mobile Solar Power Generator with Ultra Water Filtration System for Disaster Relief
During severe flood and natural disaster scenarios, electricity power becomes an essential and critical element to ensure the operation of medical services, equipment, and communication system as the power stations will most likely be shut down. In addition, a clean water supply is also important to ensure the victims and rescuers can stay hydrated during the mission. Hence, a portable or an off-grid electricity power source and a water filtration system become a convenient solution to address these problems. Delivering power source to disaster areas becomes a significant obstacle during severe flooding following the rise of water level that causes road transportation becomes inaccessible.
Therefore, an amphibian vehicle equipped with a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) system is a green solution. It can be deployed or towed to the disaster areas by either a boat or a pickup truck. The amphibian vehicle is equipped with a hybrid standalone solar PV system with battery storage and a generator capable of supplying approximately 25 kWh of electric power per day. An ultra-water filtration system is also installed on the vehicle, and the hybrid solar PV system powers it. Aluminium is used to construct the vehicle's chassis to ensure that the vehicle is lightweight, robust, durable and anti-corrosion. The wheeled trailer is integrated with a fibreglass floatable pontoon to allow it to manoeuvre and operate both on land and water. More importantly, the vehicle can move and be relocated quickly based on the situation and needs.
Essential aspects of the technology for disaster relief missions are as follows:
The use of PV system on trailers must comply with the country's Department of Transport for use on the road.
The trailer must provide strong support and stability to the PV system for safe transportation and deployment.
The size of the trailer must be large enough to accommodate the entire PV system.
The system requires a short time for it to be deployed. Preferably the system can start operating without complicated procedures.
The main body is shaped like a cage made of lightweight aluminium material. The dimension of the body is 5.0 x 2.0 x 0.8 m. The body is designed to accommodate 40 pieces of pontoon floatable boxes (each measuring 500 mm x 500 mm x 400 mm) made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is lightweight and has high tensile strength.
The trailer is also fixed with two sets of 13-inch tires. It is equipped with a tow hitch at the front, enabling it to be towed by a pickup truck or a boat. An aluminium mounting frame is built on the main body to secure the PV panels on the main body. The mounting frame can rotate as much as 45°, which allows the PV panels to be 'opened' and 'closed' positions. When the panels are required to be fully operated, the PV mounting frame will rotate to 0°, making the PV panels horizontal, hence, maximising the harnessing of incoming solar radiation. When the panels are not required to be fully operated or in an idle state, the PV mounting frame will be tilted to 45° from the horizontal position. The rear section can be mounted with an outboard motor as a secondary method for the trailer to manoeuvre on the water.
Components of the amphibious solar-powered trailer
Testing the floatable pontoon on a river
The Hybrid Solar Power System is designed as a modular system whereby it can be scaled up for a bigger power supply when it is required. The modular system allows two or more units of the amphibious solar trailer to be interconnected with each other to scale up the power supply.
The type of solar panel used for this project is Panasonic VBHN240SJ25 photovoltaic module. This model uses HIT solar cell technology made of a thin monocrystalline silicon wafer surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. HIT solar cells are high-efficiency solar cells with a higher tolerance to high ambient temperature and produce high energy production in hot and humid climate conditions like Malaysia.
The battery model is LDC12-150-GC12 by Leoch Battery. The operating battery voltage is 12V, and a total of 8 batteries are used in this system to supply sufficient current. This type of battery was chosen because it uses deep cycle AGM technology, a green solution, and over 99.99% virgin lead for grid plate and active material; heavy-duty; maintenance-free; has a longer shelf life.
The model of the hybrid inverter used in this project is PV1800 by MUST. It is a hybrid and multifunctional inverter that combines the functions of inverter, MPPT solar charger, and battery charger capable of supplying uninterruptable power support. The maximum PV array open-circuit voltage can reach up to 450V, and MPP voltage is between 150Vac and 450Vac, allowing full use of solar energy.
Ultra-Water Filtration System
The amphibious vehicle is also equipped with an ultra-water filtration system powered by the solar PV system and can contain up to 300 L of clean water. The water filtration system aims to filter, store, and deliver clean water to the disaster relief site.
Ultra-water filtration system from a non-potable water source
In the second phase of filtration, water is taken from the black containers
EVENT & NEWS
Nurul Jannah Mat Salleh
EVENT & NEWS
Assoc. Prof. Ar. Meor Mohammad Fared