Rolph Segers, MSc
- Technology Transfer
- Corporate Venturing
The electric bike is rapidly gaining in popularity, with approximately one third of the bicycles sold in our country now e-bikes. Convenience and comfort, however, have to be weighed up against the inconvenience of having to regularly recharge the battery that can run out during a journey. Now that the Netherlands has been in the spotlight for years, with student competitions for solar-powered racing cars, passenger cars and boats all over the world, the question was why it shouldn’t be possible to develop a solar-powered bicycle.
Chris van Houdt and Chris Cramer of the Need The Globe startup approached TNO and wanted to know what technical possibilities TNO could offer regarding the integration of solar cells on an e-bike and what the economic feasibility of their bicycle concept might be. This led to a research project within TNO’s Technology Transfer program.
More and more people appreciate being able to cover longer distances on a bicycle without much effort. This is why the e-bike is popular not only with working commuters in the suburbs and the countryside but also with students, school-age children and the elderly. At the same time, the government is encouraging and facilitating the use of bicycles. Cycling is healthy, hardly takes up any public space and promotes flow in urban areas. The market is large and still growing. In Europe, 15% of bicycles sold are now e-bikes and the global market is estimated at around EUR 20 billion.
TNO has a great deal of expertise in integrating PV solar modules on separate surfaces, even small ones. At the Solar Energy Laboratory in Petten and the Solliance partnership at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, TNO has been working for years on numerous new applications to generate solar energy in roads, roofs, facades or any surface that can be made suitable. For TNO, this is more than just a solution for the electric bike. The knowledge that we’re developing for this purpose can also be applied, for example, to wheelchairs, scooters and skateboards.
In the coming period, we will investigate which PV technology is most suitable for this specific application – thin film or silicon. For both options, there will be demo modules that can be integrated into the wheel of a bicycle. The integrated PV modules must be vandal-proof, visually attractive and, of course, perform well even under less sunny conditions.TNO is happy to enter into discussions with parties who wish to invest in mobility-related applications for its PV technology.TNO is happy to enter into discussions with parties who wish to invest in mobility-related applications for its PV technology.TNO is happy to enter into discussions with parties who wish to invest in mobility-related applications for its PV technology.
TNO is happy to enter into discussions with parties who wish to invest in mobility-related applications for its PV technology.
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