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Off-grid digital out-of-home public information LCD screen technology with solar-assisted backlight

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SolarDOOH (Off-grid digital out-of-home public information LCD screen technology with solar-assisted backlight)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-07-31

Although the global outdoor digital signage totems market (dominated by LCD technology which offers better resolution in close proximity) is growing, there are restraints posing a threat to its continued growth: Technological limitations: Current outdoor totems cannot operate in direct sunlight due to the risk of liquid crystals of LCD melting resulting in black botches on the screen (solar clearing), thus limiting areas where totems can be installed. Also, sunlight causes LCD screens to consume a lot of power as they have to compete with the sun’s rays for the image to be visible to the human eye. High grid connection and installation costs, which can be as high as 2x the totem cost thus increasing total cost of ownership.
To address this, the SolarDOOH – Imecon (IT), S’Tile (FR), LGOptics (LV) and Agenzia del Trasporto Pubblico Locale del bacino della Città Metropolitana di Milano, Monza e Brianza, Lodi e Pavia (IT) – will commericalize the world’s first off-grid digital signage totem that is unlimited by electricity accessibility and dramatically reduces TOC (22%), O&M costs (33%), installation costs (66%) and installation time (1 day). For power, the totem will use a photovoltaic (PV) system coupled with a battery system and will incorporate an innovative solar backlight technology that uses sunlight as a complementary, rather than competing light, enabling >50% reduction in power consumption.
This technology will be integrated in smart bus shelters and provide information stream to its users. Being off-grid enables creation of mobile totems for use during mass gatherings such as concerts, marathons, demonstrations or unexpected events in cities like emergency roadblocks.
Through this project, the consortium seeks to optimize the solar backlight system, integrate and test the totem at bus shelters. Through commercialization of this solution, the consortium aims to earn 4-year cumulative turnover of ~112.94M€, profits of €28.24 million, and an ROI of 13.9.
During Period 1 Imecon, S’Tile and LGO studied the technologies to use in this project and defined the timeline for the prototype.
In the details, this consortium:
• optimized the optical layout of the system, concerning both the solar light collection system and the light distribution device rear the LCD;
• investigated about the best solution for the sizing of PV power, compatible with the physical constraints for allowing for reliable operation of totem during prolonged cloudy and rainy days;
• deployed the web-site of the project
• drawn the system integration and the final prototype
During the Period1 we studied the basis of the project that will be produced and tested in Period2.
We defined the PV modules and the Battery pack for the bus-shelter and we studied the correct dimension of the solar collectors in order to have the correct balance between these 2 power technologies.
We are still working for having the SolarDOOH, the first off-grid bus-shelter that: (i) exploits solar irradiation as a complementary source of light to the traditional LED backlight, meaning the LCD no longer competes with illumination provided by the sun but collaborating with it to display a brighter image; (ii) is powered by a photovoltaic system (on the roof of the LCD) and battery system during the night and/or cloudy days; (iii) incorporates IoT to transmit up-to-date content such as weather, local news, and adverts and allow for simple user interaction such as checking a map, etc.; (iv) can be equipped with auxiliary devices such as pollution sensors, surveillance cameras or emergency contact point (via a web cam and microphone); (v) can be easily converted to a completely mobile solution for use during mass gatherings such as concerts, marathons, demonstrations or unexpected events in the cities, such as emergency roadblocks.
The signage totem will be implemented at a bus shelter which will provide sufficient roof space for sun collector and solar panels. Being off-grid, the solution will dramatically reduce the installation cost (man labour and legislative action) and O&M cost (about €1,500/year saving on electricity).
Further to this, being powered by renewable energy, they will contribute to EU’s de-carbonization goals.
Front view of the prototype
Lateral view of the prototype