A new form of combined generation and storage of solar power is under development for the UK.
It couples thin, flexible and lighter solar sheets to power buildings or charge off-grid vehicles with energy storage.
The company behind it, Solivus, plans to cover the solar fabric to the roofs of large industrial buildings.
These include warehouses for retailers and distribution centres for suppliers to businesses.
However, Solivus plans to also manufacture solar units or “arcs” for home use as well.
The goal is to create local, renewable energy, provide individuals and businesses with their own power supply, and help the United Kingdom towards its 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas target.
The solar material is a carbon sheet described by the company as an “Organic Photovoltaic”(OPV). It is a material which absorbs sunlight and generates energy.
The coated film can be bent into shapes or glued to surfaces that are flat or angled, vertical or horizontal-where the panels could not be used or placed on without compromising a building’s integrity.
According to the firm, the film is one-tenth of the weight of traditional frame panels-1.8 kg per m2 -contains no rare-earth or toxic materials, and lasts 20 years.
It puts its efficiency at about 13 per cent in a laboratory but claims that it stays stable as temperatures rise in natural sunlight-an issue with conventional solar panels, although they can operate at an average efficiency of 15-18 per cent.
The film absorbs a broader light spectrum than other screens, says factory manufacturer Heliatek, while still working on grey days.
The mixture is Jo Parker-Swift’s brainchild, who has a background in biological science and has developed and sold two companies working with NHS trusts.
But it was an opportunity to meet on a train with two former bosses of the energy company, and a conversation about growing demand that got her thinking about a way to harness enough solar power to take off-grid her house and car.
When home she looked at the leaves in her garden on laurel trees, measuring the surface area.
“I have had to look like a nutter right”, she says, numbering all the leaves so she didn’t count them twice.
But she felt that nature could have the answer to independence from the energy-a large surface area in a small space to capture sunlight. Something along a solar tree’s sides.
Thus started a two-and-a-half-year journey of research and innovation and a development of the concept that charging electric transportation would not only be one house running off-grid but industry, delivery companies and their cars, houses, stadiums and energy points.
Transport accounts for 23 per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions and the government have committed to ending the sale by 2040 of new petrol and diesel cars.
She hopes the film will help to stop rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the damage to increasingly acidic oceans during the battle.
Source – here