Working on the assumption that human society has yet to make the most out of the sun's energy, a team of researchers from Utah decided to work towards incorporating solar panels into the clothes we wear on a daily basis.
The main idea is that, whilst traditional solar panels only harvest sun energy nearby various households and other such buildings, having clothes that can function as “walking” energy generators means that day-to-day outdoor activities can also help diminish one's dependence on the national grid.
reports that Vini Joseph, vice president of Exotic Solar (i.e. the company that helped provide the funds and the working materials needed for this project), explained that, “The electricity generated by solar panels installed in our homes cannot be used when we are away from home, biking, walking, boating or trekking on the mountains.”
As he goes on to argue, “An ultimate possibility in this regard is that if our apparels themselves become solar panel.”
In order to achieve this goal of harvesting as much of the sun's energy as possible by means of clothes, the researchers came up with a highly innovative fabric: the Power Cloth 1 G.
Apparently, this fabric is ultra-light, flexible and environmentally friendly.
Seeing how solar panels are usually rather heavy, it is easy to guess that, in order to develop the PowerCloth 1 G, the scientists had to find ways of bringing down the weight of the supporting frames for the solar cells.
Moreover, this had to be done without risking the integrity of the latter, which we are told to be very fragile.
By using light fiber glass, Graphene and a soft polymer matrix, they succeeded in doing just this.
For the time being, the researchers are still waiting to have their invention accredited, and odds are that, soon after this happens, solar-energy-harvesting jumpers will be expected to hit our department stores.