The PowerWeave project will develop a fabric to harvest and store electrical energy within its fibrous matrix, to fulfil a need for an easily deformable, storable and transportable power supply.This will be achieved through the development of PV fibres and energy storage fibres integrated with control electronics into a textile. This unique approach, moving on from the current state of the art using rigid cell or film based PV materials and batteries, will allow development of large-area deformable products, including agricultural shading, automotive soft-tops, building facades, rollable shades, curtains and roofing, aerospace fabrics, and outdoor goods.
The key challenges are:
Formulation of PV and energy storage materials to be applied as flexible thin coatings on monofilament fibres
- SME materials suppliers Cyanine (PV dyes) and PPC (polymer coatings) will work with universities, EPFL (PV) and Brunel (storage) who are leaders in these fields.
Development and application of fibre spinning and coating methods to make the two multi-layer fibre types, followed by generation of a textile combining the two
- Fibre and fabric manufacturers Sefar, CeNTI (SME) and VDS weaving (SME) will work with textile and coating experts, CENTEXBEL and TWI
Integration of the two fibres, requiring end preparation to reveal conductors, interconnect and micro-circuitry, followed by attachment to a load device
- Materials joining and smart textile experts, TWI, Cetemmsa and Ohmatex (SME) will work on this.
- Demonstration activities which will involve a small-scale autonomous airship by Lindstrand (SME), and agricultural textiles by BTF, both strong innovators in their fields.