The desire to create a solar energy harvesting surface that offers maximum design freedom while still being highly efficient is the driving force behind.
The Eclipse Handbag
Working around existing technologies is not an option: Most textile-based products have limited surface areas available and therefore thin film solar cells have limitations regarding efficiency and aesthetics. The technology behind The Eclipse Handbag is based on miniaturizing the currently most efficient photovoltaic material, monocrystalline silicon, into oversized sequins and processing them through traditional textile techniques. The shape of the bag resembles the story between the relationship between the sun and moon – between light source and enlightened. Therefore the shape mimics an eclipse where the moon – the enlightened – interfere or interact with the sun – the light source. The surface is embroidered with an integrated combination of normal embroidery and conductive embroidery that is able to convey the energy harvested for the solar sequins to the rechargeable battery.
Promise of a powerful future
The Eclipse Handbag illustrates the first development step towards highly efficient, textile based solar cell surfaces. The first generation of solar elements shows an efficiency of 9% when converting solar energy into electrical energy. Overall, the solar elements distributed on The Eclipse Handbag are able to generate 2 Watts, more than enough energy to charge a mobile device, even at low daily exposure to sunlight. The next generation of solar elements are already promising - the new developments will double the efficiency.
Development of the solar elements was initiated by Swiss embroidery company Forster Rohner AG and conducted in a joint research project between the Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (CH) and the NTB Buchs (CH). The Eclipse Handbag was created by Diffus Design (DK), in collaboration with the Swiss partners and The Alexandra Institute (DK) and Center for Software Innovation (DK).