4.39 - Energy Harvesting Systems for Transport Infrastructures

Project Description

Society is dependent on transport systems, not only to meet its daily needs with short journeys but also to meet their rising needs with longer distances. The ability to connect remote regions and the trip duration makes the aircraft a mode of transport for distant travel. However, it impacts greenhouse gas production. The survey for new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emerges from the contribution of energy harvesting systems. Energy harvesting technology has been presenting prosperous solutions and applications in road pavements. Due to the similarity between road pavements, this research addresses state-of-the-art technologies for the airport and road pavements, aiming to analyze which ones can be developed for application in airport pavements. The aircraft is a means of transportation that operates mainly in the air. However, it starts and ends its journey on the ground. Due to the aircraft’s structural complexity, simulation tools are used to understand and predict its behavior in its movements on the ground. Simulation tools allow adjusting the observation parameters to gather more data than real tests and explore interactions of the aircraft and their individual components with external objects such as pavement imperfections. In this research, an analysis is presented not only for the density, efficiency, and energy generation but also for each energy harvesting technology’s implementation and technology readiness level. The photovoltaic technology to be incorporated into airport pavements allows sustainable energy generation dependent on the airport location. The hydraulic/pneumatic technology to be incorporated into the airport pavements will generate electrical energy based on aircraft movement. Additionally, a review was done to collect information on simulating aircraft interaction with traffic-dependent energy harvesting systems. The specifications and framework to be met by a conceptual design were explored— the different configurations for simulating the aircraft configuration resulted in the selection of the twomass-spring-damper model. For the components, especially the landing gear, a deployable element for on-ground movements, several existing models capable of translating the tire are also presented, resulting in a selection of point-contact, Fiala, and Unified semi-empirical models. It is verified which software can address the proposed simulation, such as GearSim from SDI-Engineering and Matlab/Simulink/Simscape Multibody from MathWorks. The energy transition is important for countries trying to meet their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets. To achieve this reduction, the Portuguese government has budgeted, for example, EUR 116 M to aid the energy transition in the Autonomous Region of the Azores by 2029. This research addressed a solution for producing electricity using photovoltaic panels (PV) to settle in the airport pavement. In addition to producing sustainable electricity, implementing panels in the civil airport infrastructure allows us to address emissions reduction in the ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and the Reduction Scheme xxiii for International Aviation (CORSIA) program. Currently, PV panels cannot support aircraft weight, so the installation must be in pavement areas without regular aircraft traffic. As a result, the case study predicted about 9 GWh/year production with an LCOE of 143 EUR/MWh, reducing emissions to about 6 tons of CO2/year. This research also developed a system to produce electric energy for airport pavements dependent on aircraft traffic. The created system, Matlab based, was inspired by real components to provide data inputs to support the results. The system was internally divided into simulating the aircraft simulation, 3DOF based, and the energy harvesting, 1DOF based. The energy harvesting system built, through simulation, achieved a predictable energy density up to 6.80 Wh/(m.vehicle), and 24% conversion efficiency. This research addresses the contribution to exploring the airport pavement for the settlement of energy harvesting systems by exploring new areas or innovative designs.

Research team 
  • Diogo Veríssimo Correia
  • Adelino Ferreira ( supervisor)
Financial Suport
  • Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia : PD/BD/142908/2018
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2023