Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Chemistry and design collaboration for solar textile
Chemistry and design collaboration for solar textile
30
Jul '15
Courtesy: WISC/Wisconsin Energy Institute
Courtesy: WISC/Wisconsin Energy Institute
Marianne Fairbanks, a new faculty member at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, in the US is bringing decades of experience with dyes, fibers and design to the development of a technology she's been dreaming of for years: the solar textile, the University said on its website.

"I found myself on a campus full of brilliant people of all disciplines so I just Googled 'solar research UW-Madison,'" says Fairbanks, assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology's design studies program and co-founder of Noon Solar, a Chicago-based company that made solar-charging handbags.

That search led her to Trisha Andrew, a rising star in energy research and assistant professor of chemistry at the same University. Andrew draws from the fields of chemistry, materials science and electrical engineering to develop low-cost, lightweight solar cells.

According to the website her most recent innovation is an organic dye-based solar cell deposited onto paper.

Fairbanks comes from the art studio and Andrew the chemistry lab, but the two women had an instant rapport. Fairbanks, who arrived at their first meeting with a stack of textiles, got Andrew thinking about fabric and, by the end of the encounter, the collaboration had begun.

"The idea of building solar cells on fabric is potentially transformative," Andrew says. "If we take this technology to grow devices on material, then we could talk wearable technology, as well as solar curtains, solar umbrellas, solar tents, or applications for the military."

Though Fairbanks and Andrew are not the first to conceive of solar textiles, their collaboration overcomes a manufacturing challenge that Andrew says is slowing the rollout of cheap, consumer-friendly solar cells, namely the early integration of technologies emerging from the lab with actual manufacturing processes.

With a recent grant funded by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and awarded by UW-Madison's Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, Fairbanks and Andrew have begun experimenting with different ways to create solar textiles.

One project has materials science and engineering graduate student Lushuai Zhang using vapor phase chemistry to coat different fabric weave types and structures with a polymer that increases its conductivity. Once the weave is at least 10 times more conductive than it was before coating, the fabric will act as the bottom electrode on which Zhang will deposit two different dyes and a top electrode — the contact between the four deposits making up a complete and functional solar cell.

A second idea grew from Fairbanks' knowledge of weaving. Since the four layers of a dye-based solar cell actually don't need to be placed down in sequence - the point being only to create the right contact between the four components - Fairbanks suggested they try creating a spool of thread for each of the components. If Fairbanks could then weave those threads together, two electrodes and two dyes, the weave's cross-sections would also create the contact points necessary for a fully functional device.

By this time next year, Fairbanks and Andrew hope to have developed a prototype using the coating technique as well as proof of concept for what Andrew affectionately calls "our harebrained weaving idea." Either technique could mean many more years of translating their different disciplinary languages to each other for the purpose of creating usable, even wearable, technologies. (SH)

 

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


Must ReadView All

Arvind Limited executive directors Punit Lalbhai (left) and Kulin Lalbhai explaining the project to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. Courtesy: Arvind Ltd

Apparel/Garments | On 18th Oct 2017

Arvind to set up mega apparel facility in Gujarat

Arvind Limited, one of India’s largest textile to retail...

Clash over monetary payment by UK at Brexit talks

Textiles | On 18th Oct 2017

Clash over monetary payment by UK at Brexit talks

The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) are clashing over ...

Cotton stocks accumulating everywhere outside of China

Textiles | On 18th Oct 2017

Cotton stocks accumulating everywhere outside of China

Global cotton stocks outside of China are expected to rise by nearly...

Interviews View All

Yash Agarwal
Hitansh Online

Every market region has its own culture and trends

Anvita Mehra
Confidential Couture

‘It is going to take some time for Indian buyers to get accustomed to...

Anavila Misra
Anavila Collection

Fashion shows are also encouraging and highlighting sustainable fashion

Harmeet Singh

New Delhi-based Jogindra Industries Private Limited provides an assortment ...

Harsh Shah

Established in 1956 with a small beginning, Embee today manufactures a...

Suresh P Bagrecha

Komal Texfab, founded in 1981, is into manufacturing of knitted fabrics,...

Marten Alkhagen
Swerea IVF AB

Marten Alkhagen, Senior Scientist - Nonwoven and Technical Textiles of...

Lynda Kelly
Suominen Corporation

Suominen Corporation is a manufacturer of nonwovens as roll goods for...

Ashok Desai
Bombay Textile Research Association

Bombay Textile Research Association (BTRA) is a leading name in textile...

Sidharth Sinha
Sidharth Sinha

<b>Sidharth Sinha</b> has contributed to the successful rebirth and...

Pranav Mishra
Huemn

Designers Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty’s Huemn is known for its...

Silvia Venturini Fendi
Fendi s.r.l

"Yes, my confidence and positive attitude are my strengths and should be...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

October 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

news category


Related Categories:

Planning to Take the Leap towards
Sustainability?

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes No

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you see sustainability as a route to business growth?

Yes
77.3%
No
13.6%
Skip
9.1%

Total Votes: 66

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think the sustainability space has the needed tools and resources available for a business to lead change?

Yes
60.6%
No
28.8%
Skip
10.6%

Total Votes: 66

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes No

Active Poll

Do you think adopting a sustainable approach will be a profitable move for your business?

Yes
84.8%
No
10.6%
Skip
4.5%

Total Votes: 66

Thanks for your valuable feedback. Claim your free latest sustainability e-book.

Active Poll

Do you want the world to know about your sustainability journey and your business’ environmental footprint?

Yes
74.2%
No
12.1%
Skip
13.6%

Total Votes: 66


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search