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Sun-powered Textiles - Textile solar cell modules for energy harvesting in wearables

The Sun-powered Textiles project has designed and developed a textile collection suitable for solar energy harvesting. In textile-based wearables, the solar cells can be concealed behind the textile for aesthetic reasons, which enables a broader freedom of design while still producing enough energy to power wearable devices. As a research result, we showcase a solar cell jacket prototype with temperature and humidity sensors.
Solar cells and textiles to be combined for energy harvesting in textile wearables
Photo: Anne Kinnunen

Textiles can be purposely designed to let sunlight pass through them. Hence, when a textile is placed on top of commercial solar cells, the resulting textile-cell module can generate energy. This eliminates the need for battery charging or replacement in wearables. The energy-autonomous product can generate its own energy by using light as a renewable energy source. In addition to sunlight, it can generate energy from artificial light, too.

The Sun-powered Textiles project has designed and developed a textile collection suitable for solar energy harvesting. The second design driver is that the textile effectively conceals the integrated solar cell. The fibre material, textile structure, density, colour and after-treatments all impact the optical properties of textiles. The working prototype, a show case jacket, contains a temperature and humidity sensor that is powered by textile-integrated solar cells.

The textile-cell energy harvesting module can be widely applied toward smart textiles and wearable technology solutions, such as occupational and professional wear, sportswear, well-being and fashion.

 

The Sun-powered Textiles team: Elina Ilén, Janne Halme, Farid Elsehrawy, Elina Palovuori, Bettina Blomstedt, Pinja Helasuo, Jaakko Eskola, Zuzana Zmatekova, Linda Wederhorn, Maarit Salolainen

The event is a part of Helsinki Design Week’s official festival programme and Year of Research-Based Knowledge. Aalto University is one of the EU's New European Bauhaus partners. 

#ACoolerPlanet #HelsinkiDesignWeek #NewEuropeanBauhaus #tttv21

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