Solar power has taken the forefront as a source of clean energy over the years. In fact, solar panels have been installed on our roofs, on vehicles such as buses, our offices, and even in large solar farms. However, advances in solar technology would soon see solar power cells installed on a wholly new surface – our bodies!
Well, not directly on our bodies but on our clothes, preferably custom t-shirts. Scientists are developing smart energy ribbons that can now be woven into fabric. These ribbons have minute solar cells that convert the energy of the sun into electricity. Get More Info here.
These solar cells use a different technology from those we are used to at the rooftops of our houses. The setup consists of a thin ribbon of copper on one side containing perovskite solar cells and a supercapacitor material on the other side.
In addition, the copper ribbon functions as a shared electrode for conducting and storing the perovskite charges produced.
The Differences Between Existing Solar Cells and Perovskite Solar Cells
Almost all of the existing solar cells are made of silicon, requiring high-temperature processing of silica rock. On the other hand, perovskite crystals can be processed at room temperature at a much lower cost.
Perovskite solar cells have a flexible structure and have more energy conversion efficiency than silicon solar cell
The copper filament can store the energy it generates, unlike the existing solar technology that requires batteries to keep the converted power.
Still, is it worth weaving thin copper strips into your custom t-shirts just so that you can charge your phone at your convenience? While it can come in handy in some situations, it’s generally not necessary.
So, what applications could put the production of solar clothing into mass production?
The military promises to put solar clothing to good use. On typical missions that last 72 hours, soldiers and marines must carry 17 to 30 pounds of batteries just to power their electronic gadgets. Wearable solar technology can help provide soldiers with on-the-go power while significantly reducing the weight of their packs.
Another practical application of wearable solar technology is powering gadgets that monitor personal health. Though these devices are equipped with low-power batteries with a long lifespan, it is comforting to have a backup power source.
Incorporating solar clothing into outdoor gear could be another practical way to utilize the technology. After all, nothing beats an easy source of power on a several-day camping trip in the wilderness.
Would your solar custom t-shirts be saving the planet anytime soon? The answer is probably not. The amount of electric energy generated and stored by single solar clothing would just be enough to power a cellphone.
However, the upside of technology is that it is consistently improving. These perovskite solar cells on copper filaments would soon find applications that are beyond clothing.
They have shown that they are becoming more affordable, much smaller, and more efficient. Still, only time will tell the full potential of this technology.