A crowdfunding campaign to support the concept of "solar roadways" recently raised more than $2.2 million, surpassing its a $1 million goal (see video below). The concept, developed by electrical engineer Scott Brusaw, is based on specially engineered solar panels that are tough enough to be installed on roads and other surfaces -- like parking lots and sidewalks, etc. -- and that can theoretically pay for themselves through the generation of electricity.
The panels are said to be able to withstand up to 250,000-lb vehicles and can incorporate other features such as heating elements to eliminate snow and ice, and LEDs to provide road lines and signage. According to the company's calculations, if all the pavements and impervious surfaces in the 48 contiguous US states were covered with solar road panels, and assuming a daily average of four peak daylight hours, the total electricity generated would be almost 22 billion kWh.
Critics of the concept, however, are quick to argue that it isn't viable due to numerous technical issues and costs. For example, see the video below from the Electronics Engineering Video Blog. For more on the electronics and other issues involved with solar roadways, see "Solar highway facts and fallacies."
In product news, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) has introduced complete A4WP-compliant wireless power transfer demo kits delivering 35 W and operating at 6.78 MHz. The 40 V EPC9111 and 100 V EPC9112 use the company's eGaN FETs and consist of an amplifier board, transmit coil, and receiving board.
A series of 4 W mini supplies from Recom operates over a temperature range of -40°C to +80°C. Measuring 36.7 x 27.2 x 17.1 mm, the RAC04-C/230 features short-circuit-protected outputs and are available in single 3.3, 5, 12, 15, or 24 V or dual 5/12, ±5, or ±12 V versions.
Intersil is offering new voltage options for its radiation-hardened family of ultra-low-noise, high-precision voltage references. The ISL71091SEH10, ISL71091SEH20, ISL71091SEH33, and ISL71091SEH40 are designed to enable better overall accuracy for 11 and 12 bit ADC resolution applications.
Würth Elektronik has expanded its line of wireless power coils with three transmitter coils and one receiver coil. The new transmitter coils comply with the WPC Qi standard, while the new receiver coil complies with both the WPC Qi and PMA standards.
International Rectifier has expanded its portfolio of StrongIRFET power MOSFETs targeting industrial applications. The 60 V devices come in a variety of through-hole and surface-mount packages, and offer low on-resistance, high current-carrying capability, a soft body diode, and 3 V typical threshold voltage. The company also introduced the M3G120 Series of 40 W radiation-hardened 120 V input DC/DC converters for satellite power systems.
A family of 20-W DC/DC converters from Artesyn has a 4:1 input range. The AXA series modules offer an input voltage range of 9 to 36 VDC and 18 to 75 VDC, and single outputs of 3.3, 5, 12, 15, and 24 V, as well as dual-output models providing ±12 and ±15 V.
Finally, new precision foil current sense resistors from Vishay Precision Group combine low TCR down to ±2 ppm/°C with power ratings up to 80 W. The S Series (SHR, SHS, SNR, and SPR) parts range in value from 0.002 Ω to 50 Ω with tolerances to ±0.1%.