AFTER successfully trialling wearable solar cells for soldiers, the Australian National University (ANU) says it will be commercialising the technology.
The wearable solar-cell technology was developed by the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, to provide efficient power generation to the Soldier Integrated Power System (SIPS).
The project was a collaboration between the ANU, CSIRO and Tectonica Australia, as part of a $2.3 million contract awarded under the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program managed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).
Soldiers tested the system by using it to power equipment during a 72 hour training mission. By powering equipment such as night vision goggles, lights, GPS devices and communication systems via solar cells, the soldiers benefited from having to carry less battery weight, claimed Project Development Manager, Dr Igor Skryabin.
“The trials were performed by soldiers in a real mission environment with normal usage of power. In overcast conditions the ANU flexible panels produced sufficient power to maintain battery charge. In sunny conditions the panels charged the batteries," Dr Skryabin said.
The core of the wearable solar panels is the SLIVER solar cell technology developed by ANU.
SLIVER cells have enabled the construction of efficient, rugged, flexible and light weight portable modules that convert light directly into electricity under a wide range of environmental conditions.
These cells have the same thickness of a sheet of paper or a human hair with an energy to weight ratio of more than 200 watts per kilogram.