The first commercial shipment of low-light, ultra thin, solar cell technology called DSSC (dye-sensitized solar cells), created by G24 Innovations, has been sent to Hong Kong-based consumer electronics bag manufacturer, Mascotte Industrial Associates for use in backpacks and bags. Ideal for clothing and portable applications, DSSCs are less than 1mm thick, inexpensive, don't contain silicon or cadmium and can even operate indoors, making them ideal for powering cell telephones, cameras and portable electronics. The company says DSSCs also can be embedded into tent material to power LED lighting systems for camping.
Located in Cardiff, Wales, G24i's factory is also claimed to be the first-ever facility to produce solar cells while relying exclusively on renewable energy, including solar, wind, geothermal and other green sources.
The automated "roll-to-roll" manufacturing process - similar to inkjet printing - transforms a lightweight roll of metal foil into a rugged, 100-pound half-mile of G24i's dye-sensitized thin film in less than three hours. The labor component of the production process is less than 2 percent.
As the demand for portable power to feed mobile devices continues to grow, the challenge is that there is only so much power that can be safely stored in such small devices. G24i says its next-generation dye-sensitized thin film technology will help address this battery bottleneck and the resulting power shortfall. The solar panels built into these backpacks and bags will harvest energy to repower mobile electronic devices such as mobile phones, e-books, cameras, and portable LED lighting systems.
On a larger scale, G24i's flexible DSSC modules can be integrated into electronic advertising displays that can even work indoors.
As well as embedding the film into fabrics, G24i's advanced solar cells can also be layered onto laptops, mobile telephones, GPS units and AV devices for supplemental power, significantly extending their up-time.
The G24i module is based on a technology invented by the internationally acclaimed chemist, Prof Michael Grätzel, PhD, Director, Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne.
Bag manufacturer Mascotte will display the different styles of bags for the first time at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, starting today. It expects that the first commercial designs will be available to consumers from Concord Keystone and Scratch Tracks by December.