Creating a flexible photovoltaic fiber

About Solar Fiber

The Solar Fiber project was conceived in May 2012 during Ideas Waiting to Happen, an initiative by Creative Cities Amsterdam Area (website in Dutch), Digiluce and Doe Het Niet Zelf (website in Dutch).

Ideas Waiting to Happen brings together scientists, designers, artists, technologists and makers with the goal of fostering innovation.  The four day event was sponsored by L&P Group and Philips, who provided prizes as extra motivation to the innovators.  Solar Fiber won the first prize of development money and support from L&P Group.  There were a lot of great ideas resulting from this initiative, so we feel very lucky to have won.  Aniela has a more detailed write-up on her site that’s worth checking out.

IWTH Prize presentation

Our idea

The idea behind Solar Fiber is a flexible photovoltaic fiber that converts sunlight energy into electrical energy.  We aim to develop this as a yarn that can be worked into all sorts of fabrics.  This “smart material” will be able to be used in all sorts of applications where textiles are currently used, but with the added advantage of being able to produce an electrical current.

Ralf and his sketch

Development

Developing a photovoltaic fiber is not a completely new idea, nor is it a simple task.  We don’t want to wait for years to get people excited about this innovation, that’s why our development approach is two-fold:

  1. First and foremost, we are working on a a photovoltaic fiber with a protective coating that will likely start its life as a 5mm fiber and eventually be extruded to 100µm.
  2. Before we get there, we are working on proof of concept prototypes that will help to communicate our idea and show real life applications for the technology.

Keep up with our project

We’ll be posting regular updates in the Latest news section of this site.  If you want to ask us a question, feel free to contact us.