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Flexible, Stretchable, and Hyperelastic Photovoltaic Generating Textile


OBJECTIVE: Develop a robust, flexible, efficient, photovoltaic textile ("solar textile") suitable for incorporation in both infrastructure and weapon systems. DESCRIPTION: Energy solutions for forward basing and associated war fighting operations are moving toward hybrid and integrated energy/power systems. Through the increased use of indigenous energy sources dependence on traditional sources can be supplemented, thus reducing the operational logistics/supply burden. Additionally this helps free up resources to further support mission. This topic specifically focuses on the development of a flexible photovoltaic textile that is suitable for integration into multiple applications. The textile must be able to produce electricity using sunlight, be flexible and conformal, be robust and able to survive harsh treatment and a range of natural environments, and be at least efficient enough to economically justify widespread use. This work will require the development/improvement of the photovoltaic textile, and incorporation into at least one prototype application. Within the EQ/I business area infrastructure applications for forward basing will be favored. However, potential applications for use with weapon systems are also widespread and will need to influence dual use related development decisions. PHASE I: Develop and fabricate at least ten flexible photovoltaic fabric power solution prototypes. The prototypes shall be flexible, and macro-scale (i.e., surface area within the range of 25 to 1,000 cm2). The minimum current output for simulated natural conditions shall be 0.5 mA/cm2 with more being better. Produced flexible samples shall be characterized for performance (to include conversion efficiency and durability). Identical samples shall also be provided for testing and evaluation. The Phase I design will be prototyped and further evaluated and improved in Phase II. Phase I reporting shall include the textile design"s scientific and technical merit and feasibility, while also addressing the overall business case viability. Business considerations typically include production scale up plans and projected costs per unit area as produced. PHASE II: Produce flexible photovoltaic textile material with improved properties as compared to Phase I. The current output shall be within the range of 1 5 mA/cm2 or better. Proceed to integrate this material, along with energy storage capability, into a chosen infrastructure prototype application (e.g., tent material, clothing, awnings/shading, conformal application to structural or vehicular components, etc.). Characterize the infrastructure prototype performance. Quantitative characterization testing and evaluation is to include at minimum: energy and power outputs, reliability, durability, systems integration effectiveness and interoperability (as applicable), and all for a variety of expected environments. The ability to provide effective, undiminished power production for a minimum of two years is also required. Additional testing and evaluation of key prototype characteristics is also encouraged and will be factored into the selection evaluation process. The use of CBITEC (Contingency Basing Integration Technology Evaluation Center, located at Fort Leonard Wood, MO) or similar real-world test environment for final prototype evaluation will be required. PHASE III: Various military and civilian applications/use of this technology are envisioned. Commercialization could be through direct sales and/or via sub-component supply to larger integrated system suppliers. Wider commercial applications for infrastructure use could involve A/E (Architect and Engineer) firm specification, inclusion in design guides and criteria, or other innovative and duel use applications. REFERENCES: 1) Bedeloglu, A., Demir, A., Bozkurt, Y., Sariciftci, N., 2010,"A Photovoltaic Fiber Design for Smart Textiles,"Textile Research Journal, 80(11), pp. 1065-1074 2) Bedeloglu, A., Koeppe, R., Demir, A., Bozkurt, Y., Sariciftci, N., 2010,"Development of Energy Generating Photovoltaic Textile Strucutres for Smart Applications,", Fibers and Polymers, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 378-383 3) Lee, J., Wu, J., Shi, M., Yoon, J., Park, S., Li, M., Liu, Z., Huang, Y., Rogers, J., 2011,"Stretchable GaAs Photovoltaics with Designs that Enable High Areal Coverage,"Advanced Materials, 23, pp. 986-991. 4) Kylberg, W., Araujo de Castro, F., Chabrecec, P., Sonderegger, U., Tsu-Te Chu, B., Nuesch, F., Hany, R., 2011,"Woven Electrodes for Flexible Organic Photovoltaic Cells,"Advanced Materials, 23, pp. 1015-1019 5) Bedeloglu, A., Demir, A., Bozkurt, Y., Sariciftci, N., 2009,"A flexible Textile structure based on polymeric photovoltaics using transparent cathode,"Synthetic Metals, 159, pp. 2043-2048.
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