SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-133 (AirForce)
Title:  Improved-Efficiency, Flexible, Organic Based Photovoltaic Devices for Light-weight, Low-Cost, Solar Cell Production for Air Force Applications
Research & Technical Areas:  Ground/Sea Vehicles, Materials/Processes

  Objective:  Develop novel materials and device structures based on organic,organic hybrid, and/or nanocomposite materials that enable lightweight, low-cost, flexible solar cells with improved efficiencies.
  Description:  The development of low-cost, renewable energy capabilities is critical to the Air Force for air, terrestrial and space applications. The current dependency on fossil fuels and traditional batteries has resulted in a variety of problems including dependence on third world countries for fuel, pollution of the environment, and the need to transport bulky, heavy generators, fuel and batteries to deployed troops. A variety of alternative energy solutions are currently being investigated by the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. Photovoltaic devices are of particular interest due the potential ability for energy harvesting from the environment and the concomitant reduction in the logistic overhead needed for the development, use, and maintenance of other power generation systems. The focus of this program is the development of a highly efficiency, flexible, lightweight solar power generation device. Current organic based commercial photovoltaic devices demonstrate power conversion efficiencies of 4%. The ultimate goal of this program is the The development of lightweight, low-cost flexible solar panels/fabrics with a power efficiency of 8-10% to provide the means to generate energy in remote locations. This emerging solar technology will eventually be integrated into tents, lightweight blankets, vests and uniforms for a variety of AF applications including: aircraft, UAV, airbase and special operations.

  PHASE I: Identify and develop organic, hybrid, and/or nanoparticle materials and devices with an improved efficiency greater than 6% for solar power generation. New materials and device architectures will be evaluated. An operational small area, flexible,light solar device that demonstrates feasibility will be fabricated.
  PHASE II: Further develop production methods for flexible, lightweight, high efficiency solar energy generation devices designed for AF applications. The system will be evaluated relative to current technologies. A prototype solar energy generation unit is desired to be delivered for further evaluation at completion. The manufacturabilty of low-cost, flexible, lightweight devices with an efficiency of greater than 8% will be demonstrated.

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: Military applications requiring energy anywhere, anytime, particularly useful for expeditionary forces. Useful for airbase, special operations, aircraft, and small UAV and satellite applications. Commercial application: Numerous commercial applications for low-cost, lightweight solar power generation exist including power supply in remote locations, and reliable renewable energy applications.

  References:  1. MRS Bulletin, "Emerging Organic-Based Photovoltaic R&D Approaches", January 2005, Volume 30, No. 1.

Keywords:  photovoltaics, portable, transportable, flexible, solar devices, solar panels, solar energy, solar power, solar cells, organic electronics

Questions and Answers:

No questions posed on this topic at this time

Record: of