For the WRO Open Category in 2021, your team has the task to develop a robot or robot model that can help solve challenges that arise from using renewable energy. You may choose one of the following three areas (1, 2, 3) to work on. But you can also choose to work on a project focused on a combination of these three areas.
Using more renewable energy is an important challenge for the future. We need to use less energy and we can also generate energy ourselves. With solar panels or wind power for example. But the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. Sometimes there is a lot of power available, and sometimes no power at all. We need to store the extra power, or we need to make sure that we use the power when there is lots available. How can robots or robotics systems help make sure we have an optimal amount of renewable energy available? And that we use renewable energy in a smart way in our homes or in our communities?
To help reduce the usage of fossil fuels our means of transportation will be using clean motors more and more. Vehicles that drive on zero-Carbon fuels (hydrogen for example) are expected in the future. And for the moment most cleaner vehicles have electrical engines.There are already many electrical busses, cars and motorcycles. One challenge is to organize the charging of these electrical vehicles. The infrastructure is not available everywhere and charging batteries for electrical vehicles costs time. Busses cannot drive back to the bus station easily during the day. And not all people with an electrical car have a private parking space that they can use. On the other hand, electrical vehicles also offer opportunities. When they are not used, they can function as batteries to store excess power that is produced by renewable sources. Other challenges for our transportation lie in introducing other types of fuel and reducing the
number of transportation movements.How can robots or robotic systems help us make the best of our electrical vehicles? And how can they help to improve other parts of our transportation so we will use less carbon-based fuels?
A special challenge connected to the use of energy sources like wind and solar power is the fact that the amount of power they can provide fluctuates. The amount of sunlight and wind is not always the same. This brings fluctuations in the amount of power that is available on the energy grid. On top of this the energy consumption is fluctuating too. When we get home from school or work, we all turn on the lights, start watching tv and start cooking. The electrical supply system needs to constantly adapt to these fluctuations. And it is not easy to just power up an extra coal plant if there suddenly is an energy shortage. This means that there is a need to distribute the production and usage of energy in a smart way. In which way can robots or robotic systems help tune the renewable and fossil parts of the production of energy with each other? And tune that in with the consumption of energy?