In the very near future, recycling light energy may be easier than recycling any other item in your house.
Led by Shashank Priya, a team of mechanical and materials engineers and chemists at Virginia Tech, including post-doctoral researchers Xiaojia Zheng and Congcong Wu, as well as College of Science chemistry Professor Robert Moore and Assistant Professor Amanda Morris, is producing flexible solar panels that can become part of window shades or wallpaper that will capture light from the sun as well as light from sources inside buildings.
Solar modules less than half-a-millimeter thick are being created through a screen-printing process using low-temperature titanium oxide paste as part of a five-layer structure that creates thin, flexible panels similar to tiles in one’s bathroom. These tiles can be combined together to cover large areas; an individual panel, roughly the size of a person’s palm, provides about 75 milliwatts of power, meaning a panel the size of a standard sheet of paper could easily recharge a typical smart phone.
Most silicon-based panels can absorb only sunlight, but the flexible panels are constructed to be able to absorb diffused light, such as that produced by LED, incandescent, and fluorescent fixtures, according to Priya, the Robert E. Hord Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering.
“There are several elements that make the technology very appealing,” said Priya. “First, it can be manufactured easily at low temperature, so the equipment to fabricate the panels is relatively inexpensive and easy to operate. Second, the scalability of being able to create the panels in sheet rolls means you could wallpaper your home in these panels to run everything from your alarm system, to recharging your devices, to powering your LED lights.”
The panels, Priya said, can also be made to any design, so they could become window shades and curtains as well, absorbing sunlight through windows.
“The properties of the panels are such that there are really few limitations in terms of light source,” Priya said. “And the fact that we are dealing with an emerging technology, means we will be able to expand the utility of the panels as we go forward.”
Currently, the efficiency of the cells is nearly on par with the heavier, rigid silicon structures, but, Priya said, at panel-level there is some research required. Still, it is likely the new flexible panels will overtake their rigid cousins soon.
“Amorphous silicon is a fairly mature technology running at about 13-15 percent efficiency,” he said. “Our panels right now operate around 10 percent at the panel size. At smaller, less-useful sizes, the efficiency increases, and so we can see a potential for much greater energy collection efficiencies.”
The flexible panels, as they approach the conversion efficiency of rigid silicon and glass, can also be incorporated into products that the older technology cannot compete with – such as military uniforms and backpacks, items Priya’s lab is working on now with the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center. By adding flexible panels to these items, soldiers will become their own recharging stations, resulting in reduction of the logistical footprint of a fighting force in the field, as well as the weight each individual soldier must carry on his or her back.
“Right now we are on the cutting edge of this technology,” Priya said. “Our edge is in the ability to fabricate large-area modules with high efficiency. We are actively working to integrate the product with the market and we see a wide variety of uses for the technology, from clothing to windows, to smart buildings to UAVs to mobile charging stations.”
The work of Priya and his team is detailed in the papers, The Controlling Mechanism for Potential Loss in CH3NH3PbBr3 Hybrid Solar Cells, published in the July issue of ACS Energy Letters, and Scaling of the Flexible Dye Sensitized Solar Cell Module, available online now in the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. The article will be published in the journal’s December edition.
By creating panels that capture a wide variety of light wavelengths, Virginia Tech engineers are opening a door to an entirely new area of light and energy recycling that could make saving energy as easy as hanging a curtain. Another paper demonstrating the stability of the cells will be published by ACS Energy Letters later in October under the title, Improved Phase Stability of Formamidinium Lead Triiodide Perovskite by Strain Relaxation.
The Latest on: Flexible solar panels
via Google News
The Latest on: Flexible solar panels
- Freestanding microwire-array enables flexible solar windowon December 13, 2019 at 6:11 am
Based on the silicon microwires embedded in the transparent polymer matrix, they demonstrated transparent, flexible and even stretchable solar cells ... shows the power conversion efficiency ...
- Skoda Auto Volkswagen India partners with Amp Energy for solar energyon December 13, 2019 at 4:18 am
For this, the automaker has partnered with Amp Energy, a company that develops flexible and clean energy ... has installed one of the largest solar-power rooftop systems in India at its Chakan ...
- Atomic Layer Deposition Market Price, Uses, Global Leaders, Cost Margin, Sales, Revenue, Regions, Size and Share Outlook 2024on December 12, 2019 at 9:27 pm
Dec 13, 2019 (Heraldkeepers) -- Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Market: Information by Type (Metal ALD, Aluminum Oxide ALD, Plasma Enhanced ALD, Catalytic ALD and others), Application (Semiconductors, ...
- Skoda Auto Volkswagen India’s new solar-power rooftop installation to slash C02 emissions at Pune planton December 12, 2019 at 9:06 pm
Skoda Auto Volkswagen India has commissioned one of the largest solar-power rooftop systems in India at its plant in Chakan, Pune. Together with its partner Amp Energy, the German car manufacturer has ...
- ‘Revolutionary’ solar panel company frozen by SEC in emergency actionon December 12, 2019 at 9:32 am
Nanotech Engineering of Irvine, Calif. says its “last generation solar panel” is “a lightweight, stronger than steel yet flexible Solar Panel that is more than three times more efficient than ...
- Rooftop solar to triple in 20 yearson December 11, 2019 at 5:02 am
David Porter The draft integrated systems plan, to be released on Thursday, also warned that up to 21 gigawatts of new dispatchable generation - such as pumped hydro, battery storage or flexible gas ...
- 50% Renewables by 2030: Creating a flexible power system to ensure EU’s renewable ambition becomes a realityon December 10, 2019 at 5:26 am
The share of renewable energy sources from electricity (RES-E), in particular from wind and solar, must increase dramatically ... lead to a more complex environment presenting new challenges for power ...
- $120m growth fund to boost African off-grid solar power companieson December 9, 2019 at 10:29 pm
The fund is designed to provide patient, flexible capital combined with technical assistance that is currently ... We are excited to announce the EEGF partnership to help boost and scale innovative ...
- The North Face SunUp Solar Backpack offers an efficient way to obtain energy while backpackingon December 9, 2019 at 10:04 pm
This articulating solar backpack combines amorphous panels with rigid ones on the top of a backpack. While the former are typically inefficient, the latter are less durable. Rather than dealing with ...
via Bing News