Free Press Journal

Now, 3D printed vehicle that powers a house


Washington: Researchers have demonstrated that a wireless technology allows power to flow in either direction between a 3D-printed solar-powered building and natural-gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle. The Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration has been unveiled at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Researchers from ORNL worked with industrial partners to manufacture and connect a natural-gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle with a solar-powered building to create an integrated energy system.

The car and house both were built using large-scale 3D printers. Power can flow in either direction between the vehicle and building through a lab-developed wireless technology, researchers said.

The approach allows the car to provide supplemental power to the 210-square-foot house when the Sun is not shining. Connecting the house to the 3D-printed vehicle demonstrates the concept of integrating two energy streams, buildings and transportation, which typically operate independently, researchers said.

“Working together, we designed a building that innovates construction and building practices and a vehicle with a long enough range to serve as a primary power source,” said ORNL’s Roderick Jackson, who led the AMIE demonstration project.

“Our integrated system allows you to get multiple uses out of your vehicle,” Jackson said. Advanced building controls and power management maximise the efficiency of the system’s components.

The project’s energy control center manages the system’s electrical demand and load by balancing the intermittent power from the building’s 3.2 kilowatt solar array with supplemental power from the vehicle.

The researchers hope their integrated approach to energy generation, storage and consumption will introduce solutions for the modern electric grid, which faces challenges ranging from extreme weather events to how best to incorporate growing renewable energy use.