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More Alternative Energy Resources. Wearable solar panels

More Alternative Energy Resources. Wearable solar panels

    Post Title

    As civilization grows the energy needed to support our lifestyles increases daily, requiring us to find new innovative ways to use our renewable resources such as the sunlight to create more energy for our society to continue making progress.

    Dr, Raj Shah, Ms. Mariz Baslious, Mr. Blerim Gashi | Koehler Instrument Company

    History of Solar Technology

    For centuries sunlight provided and enabled life on our planet. Whether directly or indirectly the sun had allowed for the creation of almost all known energy resources such as fossil fuels, hydro, wind, biomass, and more. As civilization grows the energy needed to support our lifestyles increases daily, requiring us to find new innovative ways to use our renewable resources such as the sunlight to create more energy for our society to continue making progress.

    As early as the ancient world we have been able to use the sun’s energy to survive, the use of sunlight as energy originated with an architecture that was built over 6000 years ago, whereby the orientation of the home was adjusted so that sun rays passed through openings to act as a form of heating. After a few thousand years the Egyptians and the Greeks used the same technique to keep their homes shaded from the sun in the summertime, in order to keep their homes cool [1]. Windows where large single pane Windows were used as solar heat treats, allowing the entry of the heat from sunlight but trapping the heat inside. Not only was sunlight essential for the heat it exerts in the ancient world, but it was also used for food preparation and conservation through salting. In salting, the sun was used to evaporate the toxic sea water and obtain salt which was collected in solar ponds [1]. Later in the Renaissance era, Leonardo da Vinci had proposed the first industrial application of a concave mirror solar concentrator to be used as a water heater, later Da Vinci also proposed the technology of welding copper using solar radiation and allowed for the technical solutions to operate textile machines [1]. Soon enough during the industrial revolution, W. Adams created what is now known as a solar oven. This oven had eight symmetrical silver glass mirrors creating an octagonal reflector. The sunlight was concentrated by the mirrors into a glass covered wooden box where the pot would be placed, allowing it to boil [1]. Fast forward a couple hundred years and the solar steam engine was constructed around 1882 [1]. Abel Pifre used a concave 3.5m diameter mirror and had it FOCUS on a cylindrical steam boiler, this engine produced enough power to operate a printing press.

    In 2004 the world’s first commercial concentrating solar power plant which was named the Planta Solar 10, was set up in Seville, Spain. The sunlight was reflected but about 624 meters to a tower where the solar receiver was set up with a steam turbine and a generator. This was able to produce energy to power over 5500 homes. About ten years later in 2014 the world’s largest solar power plant was opened in California, USA. This plant had over 300,000 controlled mirrors used and allowed for the production of 377 MW, which provides energy for about 140,000 homes [1].

    Wearable Solar Cells

    Not only are there plants being built and used but new technology made for consumers in retail stores are being created as well. Solar panels have made their debut and even solar-powered cars have started to come into play but one of the newest advances that has yet to be released is the new solar wearable technology. With the integration of USB connection or another device it allows for the connection from clothing to source, devices such as phones and earbuds etc. which can be charged on the go. Just a few years ago a group of Japanese researchers at Riken Research Institute and Torah industries Inc. have described the development of a thin organic solar cell that will be heat printed onto pieces of clothing allowing the cells to absorb the sun’s energy and be used as a power source [2]. The tiny solar cell is an organic photovoltaic cell that holds a thermal stability of up to 120 ℃ as well as the ability to be flexible [2]. the members of the research group based the organic PV cell on a material called PNTz4T [3]. PNTz4T is a semiconductor polymer which was previously developed by Riken which an excellent environmental stability as well as high efficiency of power conversion, the cells were then covered on both sides by an elastomer, a rubber like material [3]. In the process they used two pre-stretched 500 micrometer thick acrylic elastomers which allows light to enter the cell but prevents water and air to enter into the cell. This elastomer used helps decrease the degradation of the cell itself and gives it a longer lifetime [3].

    One of the most significant disadvantages to this industry is the water. The degradation of these cells can be caused by multiple factors but the largest is water, with any technology water is the common enemy. Any excessive moisture and prolonged exposure to air can negatively impact the efficiency of organic PV cells [4]. While with computers or phones water is avoidable in most situations, with clothing it is impossible to avoid. Whether it be the rain or the washer machine, water is unavoidable. After a variety of tests comparing the freestanding organic PV cells to the double side coated organic PV cells, in figure 1 where both organic PV cells were dipped in water for 120 minutes it was concluded that power conversion efficiency only reduced by 5.4% while the freestanding cell was reduced by 20.8% [5].

    Figure 1. Normalized power conversion efficiency as a function of the dipping time. The error bars on the plots indicate standard deviations normalized by the average of the initial power conversion efficiency in each structure [5].

    Figure 2 depicts another development by Nottingham Trent University, a mini solar cell that can be embedded into yarn that would then be woven into textiles [2]. Each cell that is included in the products are held to a certain criterion in order for it to be used such as the 3mm long and the 1.5mm wide requirement [2]. Each cell is laminated with a waterproof resin for the purposes of washing the clothing in the laundry or due to the weather [2]. The cells have also been tailored for comfort, each cell is installed in a way that the cells don’t stick out or irritate the wearer’s skin. In further research, it was found that a in a small section of clothing similar to a 5cm^2 section of fabric can contain just over 200 cells and in ideal condition can produce 2.5 – 10 volts of energy and has been concluded that only 2000 cells are needed to be able to charge a smartphone [2].

    Figure 2. Miniature solar cell of 3 mm long and 1.5 mm wide (Photo provided by Nottingham Trent University) [2].

    The photovoltaic fabric merges two lightweight and low-cost polymers to create energy producing textiles. The first of two components is the mini solar cell that gathers the power from the sunlight and the second component consists of a nano-generator that converts the mechanical energy into electricity [6]. the photovoltaic section of the fabric is composed if polymer fiber which is then coated with layers of manganese, zinc oxide which is a photovoltaic material and copper iodide which is used to harvest the charges [6]. the cells are then woven together with a small thin copper wire and integrated into clothing.

    The secret behind these innovations lies with the transparent electrodes for the flexible photovoltaic device. The transparent conductive electrodes are one of the parts on a photovoltaic cell, it allows the travel of light into the cell improving the light collection rate. Used to make these transparent electrodes is the indium-doped tin oxide (ITO), this material is used because of its ideal transparency (80%) and fine sheet resistance with an excellent environmental stability [7]. ITO is vital because of the almost perfect proportions of all its components. The thickness combined with the transparency and resistance are in a proportion that maximizes the results of the electrode [7]. Any fluctuation in the proportions can cause a negative effect on the electrode that affects the performance. For example, increasing the thickness of the electrode will decrease transparency and resistance causing performance to decrease. However, the ITO is a finite resource that being consumed quickly. There has been ongoing research to find a replacement that not only measures up to the ITO but hopefully surpass the performance of ITO [7].

    As of now materials such as polymeric substrates that have been modified with transparent conductive oxides are rising in popularity. Unfortunately, these substrates have been proven brittle, rigid, and heavy which considerably decreases flexibility and performance [7]. Researchers have offered the solution of using flexible fiber-shaped solar cells as a replacement for the electrodes. The fiber-shaped cells consist of electrodes with two diverse metal wires twisted and combined with active material as a replacement for the electrodes [7]. It has shown promise due to the solar cells being lightweight, yet the issue is the lack of contact areas between the metal wires which decreases the contact area which led to the decrease of photovoltaic performance [7].

    The environmental factor was also a big motivation to continue researching. The world currently heavily relies on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels, coals, and oils. Shifting FOCUS away from non-renewable energy sources and towards renewable energy including solar energy is a necessary investment for the future. Millions of people charge their phones, computers, laptops, Smart watches, and all electronic devices daily, with the ability to charge these devices with our fabric when simply taking a walk it can reduce our use of fossil fuels. While this may seem insignificant on a small scale such as 1 or even 500 people, when scaled up to tens of millions of people it can significantly reduce our fossil fuel use.

    Floating Solar Farms

    It is known that the solar panels in the solar plant farms including panels that are installed on top of homes have contributed to the use of renewable energy and caused a decrease in the use of fossil fuels, yet fossil fuels are still significantly being used across the USA. One of the main issues in this industry is acquiring land to build these farms. An average home can only support a certain number of solar panels and the solar farm estates are limited. In regions where there is ample space, most people are always hesitant to create a new solar plant because it permanently shuts down the possibility and potential for other opportunities on that land such as a new business. Recently there have been large installations of floating photovoltaic panels of which can generate large volumes of electricity, the main benefit of the floating solar farms has been the reduction in cost [8]. Without the use of land there is no more worry centered around the installation cost on top of homes and buildings. Currently all known floating solar farms are on human made bodies of water while in the future it is possible to place these farms on natural bodies of water, the man-made reservoirs have many advantages that are not prevalent atop oceans [9]. The man-made reservoirs are easily managed and have previous infrastructure and roads allowing for a simple installation of the farms. The floating solar farms have also been proven more productive than solar farms on land due to the temperature changes between the water and land [9]. Due to the high specific heat of the water, land usually has a higher surface temperature then a body of water and it has been proven that high temperatures can negatively impact the performance of solar panel conversion rates. While the temperature can’t control how much sunlight a panel receives it does play a factor in how much power you receive from the sunlight. In low energy situations (a.k.a cooler temperatures) the electrons within the solar panel will be at rest then later on when sunlight hits, they reach their excited state [10]. The difference between the rest and excited state is the voltage which is how much energy is produced. Not only can sunlight excite these electrons but so can heat. If the heat around the solar panels give the electrons energy and place them in a low excited state then the voltage won’t be as large when sunlight hits the panels [10]. since land is more susceptible to absorbing and emitting heat than water, the electrons in solar panels on land will most likely be in a higher excited state then of the solar panels were on or near a body of water where temperatures are cooler. Further research has proven that the cooling effect of water around the floating panels helps produce up to 12.5% more energy than if the panels were on land [9].

    Figure 3. Floating solar farm at a reservoir in north-west England, Giles Exley [9].

    As of now solar panels only cover 1% of the nation’s energy requirements but if these solar farms are planted on at most a quarter of the man-made reservoirs then solar panels would supply almost 10% of energy needs in the USA. In Colorado the floating panels are bring brought in as soon as possible, the two great reservoirs in Colorado have lost large quantities of water due to the evaporation but with the installation of these floating panels it’s possible to save the reservoirs from drying and create power [11]. Even if one percent of man-made reservoirs were equipped with solar farms, it would be enough to generate a minimum of 400 gigawatts which is enough energy to power 44 billion LED light bulbs for over a year.

    Figure 4a shows the increase of power that the floating solar cells have provided in correlation with figure 4b. While in the past decade there were very few of the floating solar farms, they still have made such a difference in the power that is generated. In the future when floating solar farms become more abundant the total energy that is produced is said to expand two times reaching a capacity of 1.1TW by the end of 2022 from the 0.5TW in 2018. [12].

    Figure 4a. Global capacity of solar PV and its annual addition due to floating PV plants [12].

    Figure 4b. Total capacity of Floating PV Plants installed around the world [12].

    Environmentally speaking these floating solar farms are very beneficial in many more ways than one. Aside from reducing fossil fuel reliance, solar farms also reduce the amount of wind and sunlight reaching the water surfaces which can potentially help reverse climate change [9]. A floating farm that can reduce the wind speed and direct sunlight to the water surfaces by at least 10% can offset an entire decade of global warming [9]. In terms of biodiversity and ecology there seem to be no large negative impacts that have been found. The panels prevent large wind activity on the water’s surface resulting in the decreasing of erosion of the banks and the protection as well as stimulation of vegetation. [13]. There are no definitive results that prove whether marine life has been affected but measures such as bio huts created by Ecocean which are filled with seashells have been submerged under the PV panels in order to potentially support marine life. [13]. Ongoing research is occurring with one of the main concerns of which being the potential impact of the food chain due to the installation of an infrastructure such as the PV panels on open water rather than the man-made reservoirs. With less sunlight entering the waters, it can lead to decreased rates of photosynthesis causing a great loss of phytoplankton and macrophytes. With the decrease of these plants impact the animals on the next level of the food chain and so on, causing the aquatic life to subsidize [14]. Although it has yet to happen, this can prevent the further, the potential destruction of the ecosystem is a large disadvantage of floating solar farms.

    Conclusion

    With the sun being our largest source of energy finding ways to harness that energy and using it in our communities is difficult. The new technology and innovations that are becoming available everyday are making that possible. While there isn’t many wearable solar clothing for purchase currently or many floating solar farms to visit, it doesn’t change the fact that the future of the technology doesn’t have great potential or a promising future. The floating solar cells have still a long way to go in the sense of wildlife before it can be used as common as solar panels on top of homes. Wearable solar cells too have a way to go before becoming as common as the clothes we wear every day. In the future there is hope for evolving solar cells that can be used in everyday life that don’t have to hide between our clothing. As technology advances in the next few decades, the potential for the solar energy industry is endless.

    About Dr. Raj Shah Dr. Raj Shah is a Director at Koehler Instrument Company in New York, where he has worked for the last 27 years. He is an elected Fellow by his peers at IChemE, CMI, STLE, AIC, NLGI, INSTMC, Institute of Physics, The Energy Institute and The Royal Society of Chemistry. An ASTM Eagle award recipient, Dr. Shah recently coedited the bestseller, “Fuels and Lubricants handbook”, details of which are available at ASTM’s Long-Awaited Fuels and Lubricants Handbook 2nd Edition Now Available. Jul 15 2020. David Phillips. Petro Industry News Articles. Petro Online (petro-online.com)

    A Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from The Penn State University and a Fellow from The Chartered Management Institute, London, Dr. Shah is also a Chartered Scientist with the Science Council, a Chartered Petroleum Engineer with the Energy Institute and a Chartered Engineer with the Engineering council, UK. Dr. Shah was recently granted the honorific of “Eminent engineer” with Tau beta Pi, the largest engineering society in the USA. He is on the Advisory board of directors at Farmingdale university (Mechanical Technology ). Auburn Univ ( Tribology ) and Stony Brook University ( Chemical engineering/ Material Science and engineering).

    An adjunct professor at the Dept. of Material Science and Chemical Engineering at State University of New York, Stony Brook, Raj also has over 475 publications and has been active in the energy arena for over 3 decades. information on Raj can be found at ​Koehler Instrument Company’s Director elected as a Fellow at the International Institute of Physics Petro Online (petro-online.com)

    Ms. Mariz Baslious and Mr. Blerim Gashi are students of Chemical Engineering at the State University of New York, where Dr. Raj Shah is the chair of the external advisory board of directors. Mariz and Blerim are part of a growing internship program at Koehler Instrument company, in Holtsville, NY which encourages students to learn more about the world of alternative energy technologies.

    • Szabo, Lorand. “The History of Using Solar Energy.” 2017 International Conference on Modern Power Systems (MPS), 2017, https://doi.org/10.1109/mps.2017.7974451.
    • Electropages. “Wearable Solar Technology Breakthrough.” Electropages, https://www.electropages.com/blog/2019/11/wearable-solar-technology-breakthrough.
    • “A Solar Cell You Can Put in the Wash.” RIKEN, https://www.riken.jp/en/news_pubs/research_news/pr/2017/20170919_2/.
    • “RF Wireless World.” Advantages of Organic Solar Cell,Disadvantages of Organic Solar Cell, https://www.rfwireless-world.com/Terminology/Advantages-and-Disadvantages-of-Organic-Solar-Cell.html.
    • Jinno, Hiroaki, et al. “Stretchable and Waterproof Elastomer-Coated Organic Photovoltaics for Washable Electronic Textile Applications.” Nature Energy, vol. 2, no. 10, 2017, pp. 780–785., https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-017-0001-3.
    • Gallowayjim54. “Solar Power Fabric.” SolarPowerCampingGear.com, SolarPowerCampingGear.com, 11 Jan. 2021, https://solarpowercampinggear.com/solar-power-fabric/
    • Hashemi, Seyyed Alireza, et al. “Recent Progress in Flexible–Wearable Solar Cells for SelfPowered Electronic Devices.” Energy Environmental Science, vol. 13, no. 3, 2020, pp.685–743., https://doi.org/10.1039/c9ee03046h.
    • “Floating Solar: Can Solar Farms Thrive on Water?” Solstice Community Solar, 26 July 2021, https://solstice.us/solstice-blog/floating-solar/.
    • Giles Exley Associate Lecturer of Energy and Environment. “Floating Solar Farms Could Cool down Lakes Threatened by Climate Change.” The Conversation, 28 Apr. 2021, https://theconversation.com/floating-solar-farms-could-cool-down-lakes-threatened-byclimate-change-157987. Author: Casey McDevittCasey communicates Solstice’s mission through social media, et al.
    • “Does Temperature Affect the Amount of Energy a Solar Panel Receives?” UCSB Science Line, http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2668.
    • “Floating Solar Is a Win-Win Energy Solution for Drought-Stricken US Lakes.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 30 June 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/30/floating-solar-is-a-win-win-energy-solution-for-drought-stricken-us-lakes.
    • Gorjian, Shiva, et al. “Recent Technical Advancements, Economics and Environmental Impacts of Floating Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion Systems.” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 278, 2021, p. 124285., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.124285.
    • Garanovic, Amir. “First Insights into Floating Solar Show No Adverse Environmental Impacts.” Offshore Energy, 18 May 2021, https://www.offshore-energy.biz/first-insights-into-floating-solar-show-no-adverse-environmental-impacts/.
    • Solar Projects on Water Could Come at a Cost to the Environment, Alert Experts.” Mongabay, 14 Mar. 2021, https://india.mongabay.com/2021/03/solar-projects-on-water-could-come-at-a-cost-to-the-environment-alert-experts/.

    New Photovoltaic Materials Developed by Stanford Scientists for Ultrathin, Lightweight Solar Panels

    A race is on in solar engineering to create almost impossibly-thin, flexible solar panels. Engineers imagine them used in mobile applications, from self-powered wearable devices and sensors to lightweight aircraft and electric vehicles. Against that backdrop, researchers at Stanford University have achieved record efficiencies in a promising group of photovoltaic materials.

    Chief among the benefits of these transition metal dichalcogenides – or TMDs – is that they absorb ultrahigh levels of the sunlight that strikes their surface compared to other solar materials.

    “Imagine an autonomous drone that powers itself with a solar array atop its wing that is 15 times thinner than a piece of paper,” said Koosha Nassiri Nazif, a doctoral scholar in electrical engineering at Stanford and co-lead author of a study published in the December 9 edition of Nature Communications. “That is the promise of TMDs.”

    Cross-section schematic of the device. Credit: Koosha Nassiri Nazif

    The search for new materials is necessary because the reigning king of solar materials, silicon, is much too heavy, bulky, and rigid for applications where flexibility, lightweight and high power are preeminent, such as wearable devices and sensors or aerospace and electric vehicles.

    “Silicon makes up 95 percent of the solar market today, but it’s far from perfect. We need new materials that are light, bendable and, frankly, more eco-friendly,” said Krishna Saraswat, a professor of electrical engineering and senior author of the paper.

    A competitive alternative

    While TMDs hold great promise, research experiments to date have struggled to turn more than 2 percent of the sunlight they absorb into electricity. For silicon solar panels, that number is closing in on 30 percent. To be used widely, TMDs will have to close that gap.

    The new Stanford prototype achieves 5.1 percent power conversion efficiency, but the authors project they could practically reach 27 percent efficiency upon optical and electrical optimizations. That figure would be on par with the best solar panels on the market today, silicon included.

    Stanford electrical engineering Professor Krishna Saraswat (left) and PhD student Koosha Nassiri Nazif. Credit: Mark Golden

    alternative, energy, resources, wearable, solar

    over, the prototype realized a 100-times greater power-to-weight ratio of any TMDs yet developed. That ratio is important for mobile applications, like drones, electric vehicles, and the ability to charge expeditionary equipment on the move. When looking at the specific power – a measure of electrical power output per unit weight of the solar cell – the prototype produced 4.4 watts per gram, a figure competitive with other current-day thin-film solar cells, including other experimental prototypes.

    alternative, energy, resources, wearable, solar

    “We think we can increase this crucial ratio another ten times through optimization,” Saraswat said, adding that they estimate the practical limit of their TMD cells to be a remarkable 46 watts per gram.

    Additional advantages

    Their biggest benefit, however, is their remarkable thinness, which not only minimizes the material usage and cost but also makes TMD solar cells lightweight and flexible and capable of being molded to irregular shapes – a car roof, an airplane wing or the human body. The Stanford team was able to produce an active array that is just a few hundred nanometers thick. The array includes the photovoltaic TMD tungsten diselenide and contacts of gold spanned by a layer of conducting graphene that is just a single atom thick. All that is sandwiched between a flexible, skin-like polymer and an anti-reflective coating that improves the absorption of light.

    When fully assembled, the TMD cells are less than six microns thick – about that of a lightweight office trash bag. It would take 15 layers to reach the thickness of a single piece of paper.

    While thinness, lightweight, and flexibility are all highly desirable goals in and of themselves, TMDs present other engineering advantages as well. They are stable and reliable over the long term. And unlike other challengers to the thin-film crown, TMDs contain no toxic chemicals. They are also biocompatible, so they could be used in wearable applications requiring direct contact with human skin or tissue.

    A promising future

    The many advantages of TMDs are countered by certain downsides, mostly in the engineering intricacies of mass production. The process of transferring an ultrathin layer of TMD to a flexible, supporting material often damages the TMD layer.

    Alwin Daus, who was co-lead author on the study with Nassiri Nazif, devised the transfer process that affixes the thin TMD solar arrays to the flexible substrate. He said this technical challenge was considerable. One step involved transferring the layer of atomically thin graphene onto a flexible substrate that is just a few microns thick, explained Daus, who was a postdoctoral scholar in Eric Pop’s research group at Stanford when the research was conducted. He is now a senior researcher at RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

    This intricate process results in the TMD being fully embedded in the flexible substrate leading to greater durability. The researchers tested the flexibility and robustness of their devices by bending them around a metal cylinder less than a third of an inch thick.

    “Powerful, flexible and durable, TMDs are a promising new direction in solar technology,” Nassiri Nazif concluded.

    Reference: “High-specific-power flexible transition metal dichalcogenide solar cells” by Koosha Nassiri Nazif, Alwin Daus, Jiho Hong, Nayeun Lee, Sam Vaziri, Aravindh Kumar, Frederick Nitta, Michelle E. Chen, Siavash Kananian, Raisul Islam, Kwan-Ho Kim, Jin-Hong Park, Ada S. Y. Poon, Mark L. Brongersma, Eric Pop and Krishna C. Saraswat, 9 December 2021, Nature Communications.DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27195-7

    Nottingham Develops Wearable Tech with 1,200 Solar Cells to Charge Phones, and MORE

    Nottingham Trent University developed a cutting-edge design that delivers a new era for wearable technology, as the researchers incorporated tiny solar cells in the fabric. The e-textiles from Nottingham’s Electronic Textiles are woven with 1,200 photovoltaic cells that are capable of receiving power and transform it to charge smartwatches and phones.

    The wearable can be washed like regular laundry and will not electrify the user when worn or while washing the said fabric.

    Nottingham Debuts Wearable Tech Solar Cells

    (Photo : Nottingham Trent University)

    The Nottingham Trent University revealed via a press release that its School of Arts Design developed an e-textile that is capable of delivering charges with 1,200 solar cells woven into the textile. The wearable tech imbued with solar cells has many applications, says Nottingham, and one of them is to provide charging for smartwatches and phones.

    Dr. Theodore Hughes-Riley, associate professor of Electronic Textiles at the Nottingham School of Art Design, led this development to bring charging for tech devices from the textile fabric.

    According to Interesting Engineering, the textiles would help in harnessing power from the Sun, with as much as 400 milliwatts (mWatts) of electrical energy harvested from the natural power source.

    ‘E-Textile’ for Many Applications with Solar

    The e-textile from Nottingham has multiple applications with its solar technology, and it can either be applied for jackets or bags to help bring the wearable charging features it aims to deliver. It is unknown who will Nottingham’s team would partner with to mass deliver it to the public, but the university may patent their technology for everyone’s use and application.

    Wearable Tech and Solar Panels

    The public sees wearable tech as those that attach to their body or something that can be worn, which delivers technology and advanced applications for their everyday needs. Some examples are famous smartwatches from Big Tech companies, including the Apple Watch, Google’s Pixel Watch, and other versions of the device.

    However, many developments have helped progress wearable tech into more than smartwatches now, especially with different innovations from startups and known companies.

    Rice University once delivered sports apparel that can monitor heartbeats and conduct ECGs for users that wear it, giving teams and analysts a chance to understand an athlete’s physiology and more. It will help to scan heartbeats and provide information on one’s body while doing exercises or activities to help them be free of watches or body straps that do the same thing.

    Nottingham’s new textile is an advancement to clothing, fabric, and the wearable tech industry now, especially as it aims to incorporate clean energy to gather and deliver charging for one’s needs. It is helpful for future applications, especially for those that stay outdoors for their walks or travel to get to their office or destinations and no longer need a power bank.

    This article is owned by TechTimes

    Written by Isaiah Richard

    PWR Solar Panel 10W

    PWR Solar 10W allows you to explore the great outdoors with an endless supply of clean renewable energy. You can charge all USB-A connected devices directly or charge an external power bank to store energy for later use (PWR Solar does not have an internal battery).

    PWR Solar 10W allows you to explore the great outdoors with an endless supply of clean renewable energy. You can charge all USB-A connected devices directly or charge an external power bank to store energy for later use (PWR Solar does not have an internal battery).

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    Features

    Compact Lightweight

    The Smart concertina design of the PWR Solar 10W means that when not in use it folds into a small compact unit that is not much larger than a smartphone. Weighing in at 450g this small compact unit can fit easily into pannier bags or secure jacket s. With smartly placed magnets this solar unit packs up easily when not in use, these same magnets can also be used to add positioning of the panels on a metal object.

    Durable Rugged

    Every aspect of PWR Solar 10W has been designed with adventure in mind. As such, the entire unit is coated with ETFE which is considered the leading industrial coating offering unparalleled protection from heat, water, salt, oil, and dirt. The charger also has a handy D-ring attachment which allows for convenient and secure storage or premium placement for maximum sun absorption.

    Dual function LEDs

    alternative, energy, resources, wearable, solar

    4 conveniently located LEDs on the top of the unit perform dual display functions. When the LEDs display on steady they are measuring the quality of the available sunlight which allows for placement to ensure optimum sunlight capture. When the LED’s are flashing they are indicating the rate at which your device is charging, with the unit only delivering the level of charge that a device requires.

    Premium Solar Cells Intelligent Chip Technology

    Not all solar cells give an equal performance, with a huge difference in various cells efficiencies. Knog’s decision to use Sunpower Maxeon Gen 5 panels featuring Monocrystalline cells allows for high module efficiency, these are the same cells that are used by Nasa. Through Knog’s use of advanced integrated chip technology, the PWR Solar 10W panels can detect improving solar conditions and automatically re-start the charging process to allow the device that is being charged to draw the optimum charging current, creating the most efficient charging in any given conditions.

    Technical Specifications

    DIMENSIONS. FOLDED 17.5 cm (L) x 10.4 cm (W) x 3.5 cm (D) / 6.9 in (L) x 4.1 in (W) x 1.4 in (D)
    DIMENSIONS. DEPLOYED 54.1 cm (L) x 17.5 cm (W) x 1.8 cm (D) / 21.3 in (L) x 6.9 in (W) x 0.7 in (D)
    WEIGHT 450 gm / 15.9 oz
    CHARGE INDICATORS (BASED ON AVAILABLE LIGHT) Yes
    CHARGING INDICATORS Yes
    REGULATED OUTPUT Yes, 5V
    MONOCRYSTALINE CELLS Yes, Sunpower Maxeon GEN 5 panels (which feature Monocrystaline cells)
    MOUNTING OPTIONS D-ring attachment
    WATER RESISTANT Yes, IP65 rating when rubber access flap sealed. Keep dry when charging.
    PROTECTIVE COATING Yes, ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene)
    OPERATING TEMPURATURE 0 to 50 °C / 32 to 122°F

    The benefits of solar-powered Smart wearables

    There was a time when watch technology consisted of tiny cogs and you had to wind your timepiece every day to keep it running. When batteries came along, we no longer had to wind a watch or clock — unless we wanted to. The advent of rechargeable batteries brought longer watch life and smarter watches. Rechargeable batteries mean today’s youth will never know the hassle of fussing with miniature screwdrivers to remove a watch case, access the battery, then actually find the right size at a local store.

    The next leap in power technology for watches and wrist-worn gadgets, in case you haven’t heard, is solar-powered wearables. Amazingly, this technology uses just the sun to keep your device charged and ready at all times. Should we all be rushing out to snap up sun-powered wrist wear?

    What is a solar-powered wearable?

    In wearables, a hard glass, like Gorilla Glass, is paired with a layer of semitransparent solar “traces” that cover the entire watch face. The traces harvest ambient outdoor light and convert it into power. Solar-powered batteries, also known more academically as photovoltaic cell technology, work similar to those huge panels on the roof of a home.

    Solar power recharges the batteries and keeps whatever it’s connected to fully charged — as long as the sun keeps shining. Believe it or not, some devices also have the ability to recharge themselves using not just the sun’s rays, but artificial light, too.

    To be clear, solar wearables aren’t common; manufacturers like Timex, Citizen and Seiko all make simple solar watches that tell time, and Garmin has two models of its data-centric, GPS-enabled “adventure watches” that are now solar-powered.

    The Garmin Instinct Solar is a more utilitarian option while the Garmin Fenix 7 Solar Edition is the higher-end model. Garmin uses what it calls a Power Glass solar-charging lens that uses the sun’s energy to extend battery life by days. It’s worth pointing out that the solar-charging option isn’t designed to be the primary power source. You’re still supposed to plug it in for the most part and use solar as your emergency backup.

    What are the benefits of solar wearables?

    The benefits of a solar-powered smartwatch are obvious, particularly for adventurous types: You don’t need to pack cables or battery packs, and there’s less risk of being left with a dead device. Plus, the convenience of keeping your watch charged potentially for weeks, and not just hours, can’t be understated.

    How much do solar wearables cost?

    You’re no doubt reading this and thinking this sounds great, but the downside of this technology may already be obvious: It’s more expensive.

    Garmin’s Fenix 7 costs 699, while the Solar Edition rings in at 799, and the Cadillac Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar version (no additional power, but more durable glass) is 899. Is it worth an extra hundred dollars to get that additional power and solar charging? Some may think it is. Others may want to wait for the technology to improve.

    The Garmin Instinct Solar is just 399. The Apple Watch Series 7 by comparison starts at 399, but if having off-grid power is more important to you than Siri, this buying decision may be a no-brainer.

    Other gadgets powered by light

    While solar battery technology is still uncommon, it is cropping up in other places. The 2021 Samsung Frame TV uses a SolarCell Remote, which slowly recharges with either sunlight or — rather amazingly — indoor lights. Just by leaving the remote solar-side up on the table, it can charge perpetually, meaning there will likely never be a need to buy batteries for it — another tantalizing plus.

    This SolarCell isn’t a powerhouse and it’s not fast, but even trickle charging it over days and weeks should keep the battery powered for a year, according to Samsung.

    Solar wearables tech: What’s next?

    As this technology improves, gets smaller, and charges device faster and more efficiently, it’s going to be a game-changer for a lot of us. Could you imagine what would happen if Apple took the leap and designed the newest iPhone to sport a solar back panel (in addition to a wired USB-C charger for those times when you need juice fast) that would keep power flowing slowly into the phone all day, without need for Qi pads, power banks, and twisty cables?

    Smartphones could easily adopt this technology, but you could also find it coming soon to headphones, charging cases, or a wireless computer mouse. There’s also great promise for things like small security cameras or powerful outdoor lights with reliable solar-charging technology built in, instead of the ones we have today that need dinner plate-sized add-on solar panels.

    The future of solar wearables looks bright. And wouldn’t it be nice to put all those bulky charges in a drawer with all those various batteries that are on standby?

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