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Harvest Solar Energy with Concentrating Fibers in Fabrics or Molded Solids

Typical methods of harvesting solar energy with Photovoltaic (PV) cells rely on either large area panels or solar concentrators to a small PV. Large area panels are efficient but costly to manufacture due to the large amount of silicon required and solar concentrators are less expensive but require active tracking adding complexity. UCF has developed a novel optical energy harvesting fiber that allows for passive concentration of light both spatially and spectrally to couple with optimized PV cells for efficient energy harvesting.Light can now be spatially concentrated and spectrally compressed by optical fibers developed at the University of Central Florida. These fibers are able to capture light from a wide incidence angle over a broad spectrum and efficiently waveguide the energy to the ends where efficient and inexpensive small PV cells are attached. Functionally these fibers can be formed into fabrics or molded solids to harvest light while being incorporated into fabrics used in tents sleeping bags blankets etc. that can be rolled up and handled conveniently. In addition solid structures such as solar collecting body panels for hybrid or electric vehicles window panels skylights and roof tiles can be made from molded woven fibers. Technology Applications: • Consumer products: tents sleeping bags blankets • Construction: windows skylights roof tiles • Transportation: hybrid and electric vehicles

Benefits:

• Simple • Versatile • Strong and flexible

Date of release: