German researchers have developed soft and flexible fabric-based solar panels - they will be printed on rolls and then covered with trucks instead of tarps or house facades.
“Solar tissue” was developed by scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute and their partners from the PhotoTex project, writes Engineer. A key element of the invention is the industrial process for producing flexible solar panels. Thanks to this, they will be in demand even with their modest efficiency, the creators hope.
“It seems simple,” says Jonas Sundqvist, a specialist in thin-film technology at the Institute, “but the machines in the textile industry are designed to produce huge rolls of fabric - five or six meters wide and up to 1000 meters long. And during the coating process, fabrics must withstand temperatures of about 200 degrees Celsius. Other factors also play an important role: the material must comply with fire safety requirements, have a high tensile strength and be cheap to manufacture. ”
Engineers combine all these properties with fiber optic fabric. The next step of the team was the connection of thin electrodes from below with a photovoltaic layer and electrodes on the surface of the fabric. To do this, they used the technology of decalcomania - transferring prints using high temperature or pressure.