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
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.