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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

Konarka Partners With Swiss University To Develop Photovoltaic Fabric

Konarka Technologies Inc., a Lowell, Mass.-based developer of polymer photovoltaic products using nanotechnology, is collaborating with the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, to develop photovoltaic fabric in which solar power-generating properties are woven into the fabric rather than applied to the fabric surface. The Photovoltaic Fibers and Textiles Based on Nanotechnology program will build on work already begun by Konarka in developing photovoltaic fiber, with additional input by EPFL researchers, led by Jan-Anders Manson, Ph.D., director of the schools Laboratory of Composite and Polymer Technology.

"Photovoltaic textiles could positively increase the number of applications available to solar technology by extending integration to objects made from fabrics, such as garments, tents or coverings," said Daniel Patrick McGahn, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Konarka. "New application possibilities include wearable power generation for mobile electronics."

The project, which is funded by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation, will entail the optimization of the photovoltaic fibers electrical performance, strength and thickness; and maximization of the fabrics performance while maintaining the integrity of the fibers.

  April 2005