The newly developed solar concentrator when irradiated with blue LED light: The polymer material is so flexible that it can be bent with tweezers. Image: Empa
Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich succeeded in developing a material that works like a luminescent solar concentrator and can even be applied to textiles. This opens up numerous possibilities for producing energy directly where it is needed, i.e. in the use of everyday electronics.
Our hunger for energy is insatiable, it even continues to rise with the increasing supply of new electronic gadgets. What’s more, we are almost always on the move and thus permanently dependent on a power supply to recharge our smartphones, tablets and laptops. In the future, power sockets (at least for this purpose) could possibly become obsolete. The electricity would then come from our own clothes. By means of a new polymer that is applied on textile fibers, jackets, T-shirts and the like could soon function as solar collectors and thus as a mobile energy supply.
Making luminescent materials flexible
Materials capable of using indirect or ambient light for energy generation are already being used in the solar industry. These materials contain special luminescent materials and are called “Luminescent Solar Concentrators”, or LSC for short. The luminescent materials in the LSC capture diffuse ambient light and transmit its energy to the actual solar cell, which then converts light into electrical energy. However, LSCs are currently only available as rigid components and are unsuitable for use in textiles because they are neither flexible nor permeable to air and water vapor. An interdisciplinary research team led by Luciano Boesel from the Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles has now succeeded in incorporating several of these luminescent materials into a polymer that provides precisely this flexibility and air permeability.
Well-known polymer with sophisticated properties
This new material is based on Amphiphilic Polymer Co-Networks, or APCN for short, a polymer that has long been known in research and is already available on the market in the form of silicone-hydrogel contact lenses. The special properties of the polymer – permeability to air and water vapor as well as flexibility and stability – are also beneficial to the human eye and are based on special chemical properties. “The reason we chose exactly this polymer is the fact that we are capable of incorporating two immiscible luminescent materials at the nano scale and let them interact with each other. There are, of course, other polymers, in which these materials could be integrated; but this would lead to aggregation, and the production of energy would thus not be possible», explains Boesel.
Bright solar concentrators for clothing
In collaboration with colleagues from two other Empa labs, Thin Films and Photovoltaics and Advanced Fibers, Boesel’s team added two different luminescent materials to the gel tissue, turning it into a flexible solar concentrator. Just as on large-scale (rigid) collectors, the luminescent materials capture a much wider spectrum of light than is possible with conventional photovoltaics. The novel solar concentrators can be applied to textile fibers without the textile becoming brittle and susceptible to cracking or accumulating water vapor in the form of sweat. Solar concentrators worn on the body offer an immense benefit for the ever-increasing demand for energy, especially for portable devices.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Luminescent solar concentrators
- Nanoparticles enable completely clear, industry-sized solar windows (yes, they’re finally here and targeting 5% efficiency)on July 1, 2021 at 12:25 pm
The promise of solar windows have captivated scientists and engineers for decades. Now, West Australian company ClearVue says it not only has a fully transparent, scalable, industry-ready solar window ...
- Transparent Photovoltaics: Current Status and Prospects for Energy-Efficient Windows and Beyondon July 1, 2021 at 5:56 am
Evidence of human-driven climate change has, in recent decades, triggered research on energy production from renewable sources. Photovoltaic technologies, which harness energy from the Sun, provide ...
- Masdar institute offers two projects on solar cell applications for summer internshipson June 9, 2021 at 5:00 pm
The projects titled ‘Design of Filters for Applications in Solar Cells Under Light Concentration’ and ‘Solar Cell Technologies and Applications: Investigation of Luminescent Solar ...
- Researchers Develop Ready-to-Wear Solar Cells for Textileson June 7, 2021 at 5:00 pm
They contain luminescent materials and thus are dubbed luminescent solar concentrators (LSC), capturing diffuse ambient light and transmitting its energy to a solar cell where it’s converted to ...
- Noise barriers produce solar energyon December 30, 2020 at 6:45 am
The test was done with two types of solar cells based on silicon and two based on LSC (luminescent solar concentrator). The barriers were also tested for their resistance to vandalism and graffiti. In ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Luminescent solar concentrators
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Flexible solar concentrator
- Opinion: California electricity conservation needed this summeron June 26, 2021 at 4:00 am
Transforming our power system to address the impacts of climate change is going to require active participation of all.
- Solar Panel Materials Market Share 2021: Global Trends, Key Players, Industry Analysis Report to 2027on June 25, 2021 at 7:53 am
The demand for solar panel materials is driven by increased investment in the solar power industry More and more new players are offering components and systems for solar power plants The year over ...
- Global Flexible Electronics Market GROWTH PROSPECTS, REVENUE, KEY VENDORS, GROWTH RATE AND FORECAST TO 2027on June 25, 2021 at 4:20 am
Zion Market Research includes new market research report Global Flexible Electronics Market GROWTH PROSPECTS REVENUE KEY VENDORS GROWTH RATE AND FORECAST TO 2027 to its huge collection of research ...
- Petronas talks up New Energy businesson June 24, 2021 at 11:15 pm
Petronas, which has yet to make a firm carbon-neutral pledge, sees significant growth ahead for solar and wind, particularly as a hedge against volatile ...
- For a sustainable future, scientists rethink plastics and deviceson June 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm
Scientists and engineers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory are already answering the challenge, using biomaterials, advanced polymers, and artificial intelligence to ...