Explorer Robert Swan OBE has successfully pioneered a new use in solar technology as he participated in Nantucket's famous sailing Race Week.
Dye-Sensitised Thin Film solar cells manufactured by G24 Innovations (G24i) have been integrated into the sail of Swan's '2041' boat, which is currently sailing around the world raising awareness on climate change. Twelve solar panels have been incorporated into each side of the sail, helping to charge the 200lb battery used to power the sailboat's motor.
The launch of the 'solar sail' demonstrates the versatility and flexibility of G24i's next generation technology. In April 2008, Swan utilised G24i's cells in his groundbreaking expedition to Antarctica, where he spent more than two weeks solely using renewable sources of energy. The trip successfully demonstrated that solar power can provide an effective and reliable energy source even in some of the world's most inhospitable and extreme environments.
Swan participated in the thirteenth Nantucket Race Week which took place between Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 17, 2008.
The '2041' and its solar sail will be on the East Coast of the US before heading to Europe, Russia, India and China until the year 2012. At each port, Swan will be engaging and inspiring young future leaders, addressing the key issues of climate change and demonstrating renewable energy solutions.
Commenting, Robert Swan OBE, said: "The use of solar cells in this way shows the versatility of Dye-Sensitised Thin Film technology. I was extremely impressed with how well G24 Innovations' cells worked during my trip to Antarctica earlier this year, so this was a great opportunity to test them again. I believe that this is just a hint of the potential of this technology."
Robert Hertzberg, Chairman of G24i, said: "Robert Swan has again provided G24 Innovations with a valuable opportunity to test our technology in diverse circumstances. Our solar cells are ideal for this project, their low weight and flexibility allow them to integrate effortlessly into the sails and provide clean and renewable source of energy to assist in powering the boat."IDTechEx notes that DSSC solar cells were invented by Professor Graetzel in Switzerland who supports G24 innovations. DSSC usually involves liquid but it is made reel to reel by an ink jet like process. It works well with polarised eg reflected light at low angles of light and at low levels of light, all of which are a big problem for traditional silicon photovoltaics which is heavy and rigid anyway. Professor Shozo Yanagida, on the advisory board of the company, will address the forthcoming IDTechEx conference Printed Electronics Asia. At the forthcoming Printed Electronics USA, Professor Guozhong Cao, from the University of Washington, will talk on popcorn style dye sensitised solar cells. This is one of the hottest areas of the new photovoltaics, creating many new markets.