Creating a flexible photovoltaic fiber

Progress on the fundamental research side

Ever since the very first meeting of our Solar Fiber team, we’ve been looking out for any developments in and and around photovoltaics in combination with textiles.  One of the first Institutes to come to our attention was the Justis-Liebig-Universität in Giessen, Germany.  Marina Toeters met Professor Dr. D. Schlettwein at a conference in Montecatini, Italy in June 2012.  His presentation at the conference was titled: “Photovoltaics go Textile: Fundamental Considerations and Materials Aspects to Realize Dye-sensitized Solar Cells on Textile Electrodes.” 

In February 2013, Marina visited the Giessen research group’s laboratory at IAP (Institut für Angewandte Physik).  In May, she received these yarn samples made with active PV materials:

giessen_tests3_small

1) (silver colored rectangle) Polyamide structure with silver coating (prepared by electrochemical deposition of the silver by a collaboration partner of the university).
2) (silver colored + red colored rectangle) The same as above, but with an additional layer of ZnO on top, the ZnO is coated with the dye that collects the sunlight and gives it a reddish color.

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3) Also a polyamide / silver / ZnO / dye sample, but this time as a flexible filament.

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4) A flexible stainless steel structure coated with ZnO / dye. It is a gimp structure, where the two stainless steel threads are attached together with a thin stainless steel filament. One of the threads is coated with ZnO / dye, the other one is wrapped in polyethylene, so that the two stainless steel threads are not in direct contact.

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This last one is very close to a full solar cell, as only the liquid (electrolyte) that is supposed to transport the photo-charge from one contact (thread) to the other is missing.

Thanks to Melanie and Professor Dr. D. Schlettwein!

logo universitat giessen

logo universitat Giessen IAP

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Solar Fiber shortlisted for Launch Challenge

Our project has been shortlisted for the Launch ChallengeLaunch is a global initiative founded by NASA, USAID, the Department of State and NIKE, searching for visionaries and world-class ideas or technologies that show promise for making tangible impacts on society.

Of course, we think that Solar Fiber fits this description, but we are are in very good company on the shortlist!  If you want to support our application, please vote for us!

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Beautiful new photos of our prototypes

Marina organised a photoshoot with photographer Brian Smeulders and some of our Solar Fiber prototypes:

Solar Fiber jacket

Solar Fiber dress

Contact us if you’d like a full set!

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Solar Fiber part of NWO Creative industries initiative

We are pleased to announce that Solar Fiber has been included in one of the Strategic Research projects supported by the NWO (Dutch organisation for Scientific Research).  As part of Crafting Wearables: the production of fashionable technology, led by Prof. dr. A.M. Smelik, Solar Fiber will benefit from research and attention from a wide range of participants.
From the press release (only available in Dutch):

The research project ‘Crafting Wearables’ seeks to design wearables (fashion with embedded technology) that are durable, fashionable and commercially viable within the production chain.  In order to achieve this objective, the research group brings together different areas from mode, technology, industry and scientific research in interdisciplinary and interrelated research projects.

Consortium partners: ArtEZ Hogeschool, Audax, Freedom of Creation, INNTEX, MODINT, Philips, Radboud Universiteit, Solar Fiber, Textiel Museum Tilburg, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, XSENS.

More info on the NWO website (in Dutch).

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Solar Fiber presented in NEMO science center

Visit the highest floor of the NEMO-energy exhibition in Amsterdam to see our latest Solar Fiber prototype. More info: www.e-nemo.nl

130313 foto Nemo

 

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