Could You Power Your Own Commute? | Living Off Grid with Maddie Moate | Earth Lab

Could You Power Your Own Commute? | Living Off Grid with Maddie Moate | Earth Lab

I want a mission to find a way to live a
more sustainable life and I’ve already looked at the future of our fridge and
the future of meat production but now I want to see if there’s a way we can
generate enough energy to power our own commutes after all predictions on fossil
fuel reserves indicate that we’ve only got 115 years left of coal production
and only 50 years of oil and natural gas remain so we’ve got to look for
alternative options so how does this all work then I’m revisiting the Center for
alternative technology in Wales to find out for myself I’ve been trying to find ways in which I
might be able to power my own commutes in the future it’s quite difficult for
individuals to be totally self-sufficient from an energy point of
view you can put solar panels on your own roof and contribute to your own
electricity usage or you could buy your own electric car but of an evening you
would have to plug your electric car into your house electricity system to
recharge it so you need to be thinking about where that eletricity is coming
from at all times really to be truly self-sufficient in the message personal
investment as well it is it’s it’s relatively expensive to put PV panels on
your own roof and not everybody’s house is facing the right direction either can
you explain how PV house solar panels work okay cool
so behind it you can see large solar roof made up of lots of individual solar
panels yeah when the Sun shines on them they generate electricity at DC okay now
we can then take that DC and we can turn it into AC electricity which is what
most people have Oh coming out of the sockets in their house and we can either
use it in our houses or we can export it straight back to the grid okay and then
so how do we and then we have to use something to get it from DC to AC okay
yeah there’s a device called an inverter which turns out DC power into AC power I’m in Brighton home of the big lemon
the UK’s first fleet of school buses these season in try the electric bass
yes so notice little USB points yeah is that solar as well yeah the whole the
whole bus yeah solar energy we have 128 solar panels on
the roof of our bus depot okay and that produces 21 kilowatts of
power what about this bus and another one very similar infant basically they
run 52 service which the other bus is doing at the moment you know these two
buses of that route those solar panels will give you another energy to be able
to do that entirely without relying on exactly this how do projects like this
benefit the community Oh in a million ways the bus service itself is very
important to people on the outskirts of town for a lot of people we are their
lifeline into into town running on electric means that they are zero
emissions Brighton has a massive air quality problem and has so many cities
and towns in the country we’re also sharing as much of the data as we can so
that other bus operators can also learn from this file like and then hopefully
it will accelerate the change to zero emission buses across the country one of
the disadvantages of something like this it’s a hugely expensive thing to set up
yeah yeah I think the main it changes the economics quite a lot in terms of
much bigger investment to start with and then the actual running costs are lot
cheaper let’s talk stats yeah how long does the
bus take to charge and how long will it run for it goes from naught to about 99
mm-hmm that’s percent not miles per hour if only in six and a half hours okay and
then that runs it for about 100 miles mm-hmm and on the routes that we run in
Brighton and Hove that lasts about 10 hours
what are you saving what are the bear that’s massive so um if it’s obviously
with the renewable energy it saves 140 kilo grams of co2 every day every day at
the moment you’ve got two buses in the fleet are you hoping to expand that at
all yeah well we actually got two full-sized buses this size aggregate an
electric minibus as well runs like smaller shuffles and but in two weeks
time we are getting four more buses of the same size but they’re brand new and
fully purpose-built an electric and we’re we getting more solar panels to
power them by mid March we’ll be running all our six bright and hopeful eats with
electric buses powered by renewables and we hope that in the future we can then
expand that further afield and do that in other towns as well welcome to
Groningen in the north so we’re here to check out a solar Road this is a
prototype bike path that uses energy from the Sun and two feet of charging
unit for all sorts of different gadgets including electric bikes as you can see
we’ve picked the perfect thing for it the soda road outside how much
electricity is it generating it is generating approximately 3500 kilowatt
hours per year what could that charge one Dutch household which can be powered
by 10 meters of road if we would cover one-third of our road network with this
type of technology with solar Road we could power 8 million electric cars and
that is equal to the total amount of cars that we have today can you tell me
a little bit about how it works it is a solar panel integrated into a road and
it catches the sunlight and converts it to electricity and the difference with
regular solar panels is that these are very sturdy very strong yeah I felt that
their guity their gritty that’s important because you have to have a
safe road for the road users okay but underneath there is well it’s a
different solar panel then what you put on a rooftop typically it’s more sturdy
it’s more more strong heavily designed but actually it works like a regular
solar panel that Gritti top layer it provides grit but that doesn’t make them
any less efficient slightly I mean it is of course a little bit of a compromise
compromise that you have to make between using it as a road and using it as a
solar panel so they elect Rissa t from the road is fed into a low battery
that’s next to the road and that is connected to a charging station so what
people do this is located next to a bike road that is regularly used by a lot of
people when they want to rest here and then they can charge their their
smartphone their and their tablet but also their ebike if they have an e-bike
but in other projects we connect it to the grid for instance to to power the
the lighting the public lighting that is next to the road and then the balancing
so when there is a surplus of energy generated by the road it’s going to the
grid and when there is more electricity needed then the road is providing we can
get it from the grid so the grid works as a kind of a balancing system and I
guess in that type of situation actually the generating the electricity ends up
benefiting the whole community absolutely if we were to create an
entire bike path would you imagine every inch of it would be solar panel or would
it just be in chunks we estimate that between
and 30% of the total roads suitable for application of this type of technology
when you look ahead to the future of this you’re talking about changing the
entire road network of a country how do you feel being part of a project that
has such long term goals it’s a frustrating sometimes of course well
yeah that the steps that you’re that you want to take are not achievable at the
moment but on the other hand if I mean we have to think about long term here
and and it fits actually quite well because you see that roads have a very
regular maintenance program when you tap into these moments to make the decision
either to go with this technology or not and you program that actually then you
can program your whole transition of going from regular roads to solar roads
in a very organized way to find out more and how you can live sustainably watch
the other videos in this series and don’t forget to subscribe you

90 thoughts on “Could You Power Your Own Commute? | Living Off Grid with Maddie Moate | Earth Lab

  1. The fact that we only have 115 years of coal and 50 years of gas and oil left has almost nothing to do with why we have to move away from fossil fuel powered commutes.

  2. You should not have let this clueless woman direct this video about electricity when she knows clearly nothing about it

  3. Awesome. My commute is about 100 miles a day, so all I need is a roof the size of a bus depot, and hope I don't have any plans to visit family or friends, or go out anywhere.

  4. Sigh, the joke that is solar roadways… or cycle ways. Putting solar panels on the ground is the WORST possible way to use them- they need to be posts or roofs and angled towards the sun, otherwise you're getting a fraction of the possible output. Try doing a science video on REAL solar farms and installations that aren't based on a scam by some redneck fraudsters.

    I feel like dumbing-down these videos for mass consumption and ease of understanding is a mistake; for the videos aimed at kids it makes sense, but the videos aimed at adults… it just feels patronizing or condescending towards an audience who aren't all thick as two short planks.

  5. FACT Solar roads are stupid. Half the potential is lost due to being flat. Put the panels above the road and angle them.

  6. putting solar panels on the path/road might sound like a good idea……or you could just put solar panels at the side or above the road/path which will be cheaper, more efficient and won't get dirty

  7. To me it has always seemed like a no-brainer to put solar panels on busses an trucks. Even on a small car's roofs it would be awesome in sunny areas. Imagine running the AC without having your engine running or your battery draining. It is surprising their use is not more widespread.

  8. Would you like to explore how much it costs to create self-sustaining house? From the creating of comparably expensive solar batteries to mining and refinig rare earth metals? I've heard that to buy a hybrid and dump my old car would be actually hazardous all things consider. Is the world able to sustain its advancement from oil to solar (including sun-created phenomena) era?

  9. I bet the bourgeoisie like solar freakin’ roadways because it helps to sabotage the renewable energy movement. TFoot did a great video debunking solar roadways. Point is, they build the dumb solar roadways, they’re extremely expensive, high maintenance, they break and wear easily and when this ill-conceived infrastructure is installed, they can say, “look, renewables are insufficient. We should stop investing in them.” And that’s how fossil fuels win. Just build conventional solar farms. They’re cheaper, they work better, they are low maintenance; basically everything solar freakin’ roadways are not. We can’t afford to drag our feet on this issue. Humanity is at stake.

  10. There's a 200 year old technology called bicycle. I've been using it for a while, it's mind blowing how much energy you save!

  11. Just 50years on oil left? REALLY?!?!?? The oil sands of Canada alone will supply our current oil consumption for the next 100years! Is it cheap? No, BUT still makes your argument/fear mongering wrong!!!

  12. Being sick of the local bus service, for the past six months I have walked to and from work and managed over 1200km of walking in that time, however, how efficient is converting food into locomotion by walking? Much of the food I eat is imported from abroad and I do eat energy inefficient meat.

  13. What research did the BBC bother to do for the solar roadway part? Apparently none.

    EEVBlog did a solar roadway debunking a while ago, as have other engineers.

  14. Solar road is essentially vapourware. At one point they claimed it could melt snow and black ice and the next morning the snow was all gone, only to later find out through security footage that they had secretly shovelled it all at night.

  15. The easy extraction of coal and oil is going to stop (in Europe and the U.S., KSA, Iran). there are huge methan (gas) sites – the problem is NOT so much store – but the climate change caused by global warming – someone should have informed her about that.

  16. + on the electric buses & shuttles
    – on the solar pavement scheme (every bike creates shading in addition to the other common sense ideas noted by viewers)

  17. Why doesn't the yellow bus company put a couple of wind turbines on the depot roof so the be can charge at night as well

  18. I was thinking this video would be about: this # of solar PV panels at the latitude, this technology, this Tesla Powerwall, powering this electric vehicle, travelling this many kilometers and costing this in total.My initial plan is to have 9 big 335 watt SunPower (highest efficiency) solar PV panels on my off grid roof along with a Tesla Powerwall and a Model 3 vehicle. I may need more panels especially for the winter.

  19. Maybe the solar roads aren’t good, that said, the rest of this video was fantastic. Why aren’t we doing more of this to our bus fleets? It’s a no-brainer long-term.

  20. Dear BBC… No! No! No!
    OMG – summary completely misses the point of renewables yet again!!!! Don’t bloody believe it.
    How many more times will your young, inexperienced, and uneducated presenters make this mistake again, and again and again. Please stop it.
    We must reduce, reuse and recycle as a matter of urgency due to the inability of our own civilisation to be sustainable.
    We must use clean renewable energy and stop burning fossil fuels at the earliest opportunity.
    IT IS ABOUT ENDING FOSSIL FUEL USE AT THE EARLIEST TIME. Not waiting until we have used up remaining oil, gas and coal reserves. If we did that, children today you are attempting to miseducated will have a short horrible life compared to their ancestors.
    Point of detail- children get the ‘big picture’. Using small scale examples of incremental innovation again misses the point. This is a war for our survival and the UK is doing great epic industrial scale work leading with Denmark, the rest of Europe. Your programme seems not to mention this deliberately.
    Don’t ignore it, put the spectrum in perspective, simplify by all means but be accurate, don’t belittle efforts that all contribute to the effort of clean sustainable energy production and use.

  21. I power my own commute using a PV array I've installed on my roof. It wasn't expensive at all as I did the work and designed the system. The electricity powers the Electric Velo that I built. The picture is to the left. My ROI as compared to being connected to the grid is just under 4 years

  22. Few hundred watts of solar on with a big enough battery will charge as you drive. Imagine driving 20miles to work for 8 hours. By the time you get off, your batteries are charged back up again. Or imagine driving 1,000 miles. That's like 16-32 hours. By the time you drive all day, you charge all day.

  23. Solar Frikkin' Roadways. I thought this idea was totally debunked for being entirely useless – surprised Maddie didn't call b$ on this given her background

  24. Solar freaking roadways are stupid.
    Far cheaper and better to use the solar beside the road, on top of the road, on top of car parks etc.
    Solar roadways won't work long term, very costly, their output degrades very quickly.
    Stupid idea.

  25. There are more important reasons why we need to move to a more sustainable commute than the fact that we will eventually run out of fossil fuels!

  26. Presumably the Brighton bus routes don't change on cloudy days or in winter – pity they were not more up-front about use of the grid to make good the gaps in the sunshine.

  27. The BBC should really pay attention to the comments and critically present the nonsense that is "solar roads". A correction in the next programme would be most welcome.

  28. Nothing about energy storage… Which is absolutely necessary to charge a vehicle at all let alone after hours.

    A moderate ev charger will draw from 3.7kW to 17kW. That's more power than the largest home systems generate at peak. The faster chargers are 100+ kW.

    In my blog, I go over many challenges to off-grid living and possible solutions at

  29. Thanks for all your comments, it's great to have a community as engaged as you. Our intention with the Living Off Grid videos was to focus on the people behind the ideas. We are aware there are many other businesses out there using solar energy like the Solar Car or Solar against Sunburn (UAE), but since we were focusing on the theme of transport we wanted to include Sola Road. The video acknowledges that it is not as efficient as other methods, but we hope it inspires people to re-think how we might experiment with solar energy in the future.

  30. One key issue in all of these energy schemes is to NOT WASTE energy. Perhaps the film makers should have thought of this and not added unnecessary irritating noise. I cannot understand the fixation with putting noise behind someone speaking, particularly when there are significant numbers of people with hearing difficulties that find this sort of noise overlay masks the spoken word.

  31. It’s funny when you still hear people claiming we’ve only got 150yrs coal and 50 yrs of oil left. 1) this old argument has been consistently proven to be nonsense, resources are always being found and enhanced oil recovery and reforming allows us to make more use of poorer quality resources. Now we have fracking, those estimates are nonsense. 2) we are far more concerned with the effect of hydrocarbon combustion on the environment than we are with running out of resources. I don’t think we’ll ever use all our oil (and especially coal), looking at the trajectory of travel for our energy future. I believe they will shift from energy use into a purely chemical feedstock, as that is where the added value is…. ok rant over!

    Also… I must add: what a beard @ 1:20

  32. Scientist said before 20:20 mankind will be wiped off the face of the Earth due to global warming climate change we're still here how do they know how much oil is left in the ground if they can't get climate change correct there's a lot of oil in the ground.

  33. "The grid [that is fed mostly by coal and gas] acts like a balancing system"

    Short answer to the question asked in the title therefore: NO!

  34. Interesting how in the 70s we were told only 50 years before fossil fuels run out. Now 50 years later were told only 50 years before fossil fuels run out. Sounds like these folk dont really know when or if we will actually run out.

  35. 50 years of fossil fuels is a lie. There is no way of knowing, because over time new technology appears and new reserves are found. That being said, supply isn't really the reason we should be moving to solar, harnessing the power of the sun just makes more sense. It's better for the environment, and better for civilisation in general. It also halts the globalist plan to take over the world with their oil backed dollar.

  36. The future is here!Things are looking up and it looks like solar will save the planet.I am a engineer and i started working in solar pv arrays and i am amazed about the new MPPT technology and the LiFePO4 batteries + china is making pure sine wave inverters much cheaper then any other.Good luck to all and welcome to the future! Namaste.

  37. I was enjoying your little series until the solar roadway bit. You should do some research I am pretty sure that project is never going to happen. I first learned about them 2 years ago and not much progress has been made.

  38. Great videos Maddie, I like the message you are putting out and enjoy all the content you have been making. Its just such a shame the BBC are involved, I really cant stand them and all of the vulgar crimes they have been associated with in the past. Keep up the good work anyway hun x

  39. I would prefer that parking lots, roof tops and bus, taxi and train/trolley stops have solar roof covering instead of roads.

  40. Why dose the solar road have a battery if its connected to the grid?
    Batterys makes large CO2 footprints and to charge it would make the whole system less efficient. And driving on a solar pannel would scratch the surface and make it generate less eneryg. A more enviromentally friendly way to generate electricity is to just to build some nuclear power plants.

  41. okay so you've got solar buses cool, but how much energy did it take to make that bus? i've heard that 50% of a car's emissions during it's lifetime are at the manufacturing stage. i'm not sure on how accurate that number is, but it has to be substantial. i think we're better off looking at carbon neutral ways to fuel the cars we already have

  42. Oh god, the solar roadway debarcle has fooled the BBC. Yes what a great idea, lets make solar panels that have to be much more expensive and being in the road flat will make not much power instead of covering still free rooftops with cheaper panels that will make more electricity. When will the BBC get out of hippi mode and employ some decent technical advisors to warn them aware from actively promoting scams!

  43. Solar roadways? Why are we still talking about this? Roads are the worst place to put solar panels. At that latitude, you could make much more power if you just put them on stands that are angled towards the sun. And you don't have to waste money reinforcing the solar panel to withstand an 80-ton vehicle. Why are you trying to make it more difficult and expensive?

  44. I wonder if the solar roads people are deluded enough to think it actually works or they just got this far, realized it was idiotic, but had to keep pushing it to make the investment seem sensible.

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