3M see-through solar films stick onto windows

3M see-through solar films stick onto windows
by Tim Hornyak October 6, 2011 10:04 AM PDT (Credit: Tim Hornyak/CNET)

MAKUHARI, Japan–What if every window of your home or office could generate power? See-through solar films developed by 3M also make your windows shatter-resistant.

At the Ceatec 2011 electronics trade show outside Tokyo, the company was showing off its green-tinged, flexible transparent photovoltaic films on regular and curved glass surfaces.

It was the second time the tech was being displayed, following a brief showing that unfortunately coincided with the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The films stick onto windows, making them less susceptible to breaking in quake-prone Japan. They consist of five layered sheets and an organic photovoltaic substance.

They also help keep interiors cooler by absorbing more than 90 percent of infrared light, reducing the need for air conditioning in summer. At the 3M booth at Ceatec, there was a 13-degree C difference on one side of a window compared to the other, which was heated by powerful lamps but plastered with the sheets.

Compared to traditional solar panels, the films are easier to install and can work with less sunlight but they are far less effective, with only 3 percent to 8 percent efficiency. A square meter under full sun can generate enough power to recharge a smartphone, according to 3M.

“We’ve been a pioneer firm in window films, and we had already developed sunshade films and shatter-resistant films, so we added functionality to those,” said Fumito Takada of 3M corporate communications.

A separate battery can store power generated by the films, which will hit the Japanese market next year. 3M is aiming at government structures, commercial buildings, and fast-food restaurants as potential customers.

They’re expected to be one half to two-thirds the cost of traditional solar panels including installation.

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Guerilla Branding –

good example of some of the ideas I’m trying to convey. on to something for the solar movement.


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Konarka – One of my favorite companies to watch – getting in with the automobile industry

Media Contact:
Tracy Wemett
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Konarka Technologies and Webasto Announce Collaboration for Organic Solar Application in Automotive Industry
Lowell, Mass. – Oct. 19, 2011 – Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of Konarka Power Plastic®, a lightweight, flexible organic solar film that converts light to electricity, today announced a collaboration with Webasto, one of the world's top 100 automotive suppliers. The companies will be integrating Konarka's Power Plastic organic solar cells in Webasto's automobile roofing systems. The announcement was made at eCarTech, the international trade fair for electric mobility, which takes place in Munich, Germany, October 18-21, 2011.

Webasto specializes in developing and producing automobile roof systems and has taken on a leading role in the application of new materials and innovative roofs.

"We are pleased to be able to work with this forward looking company," says Alexander Valenzuela, Konarka's vice president of business development Europe. "We deliver our Power Plastic technology with the parameters that Webasto needs for its products. Our organic solar cells have special features including transparency, availability in different colors, as well as being flexible and lightweight."

Webasto is a pioneer for solar technology in the automotive sector. For over 20 years the company has been developing and producing automobile roof systems with solar functionality. With the world's growing number of electronic and hybrid vehicles, the company's expertise for solar modules in roof systems is becoming more significant. Webasto plans on integrating organic solar cells from Konarka in automobile roofs.

Dr. Jörg Löffler, global vice president of Product Group Efficiency Technologies explains, "We have had extensive discussions with automobile manufacturers on the value of organic solar cells. The organic solar cells from Konarka offer a transparent, light and cost-effective solution for use in roof systems. The main task of the collaboration will be increasing the efficiency of the solar cells to magnitudes suitable for automobiles."

Konarka works with high level OEM partners, like Webasto, to develop Power Plastic for commercial uses. The automotive sector is a target market for Konarka and building integrated projects (BIPV) remain central to the company.

Organic Solar Cells: Technical Background
Organic solar cells are flexible, unbreakable, non-toxic and are made of recyclable materials. To date, they have achieved efficiencies independently lab certified at a world record 8.4% and are characterized by better weak light behavior than alternative technologies. Performance is very good at sub-optimal angle of incidence as well as at elevated temperature unlike traditional photovoltaic material. With Power Plastic, carbon molecules (fullerene and semi-conducting polymers) generate electricity under the influence of light. The solar cells are printed in a cost-effective, roll-to-roll process in various widths and lengths.

About Webasto
Webasto Group based in Stockdorf near Munich has been a family-owned business ever since the company was founded in 1901. Internationally, the group has more than at 50 locations (including over 30 production plants) dedicated to the business sectors roof and thermal systems. Webasto is one of the top 100 automotive suppliers worldwide. In 2010 the group has generated sales volumes of more than 2 billion Euros with over 8,500 employees. The company's core competencies include development, production and sales of roof and convertible systems as well as heating, cooling and ventilation systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

About Konarka Technologies
Konarka reinvents solar with Power Plastic®, organic solar film that converts light to electricity-anywhere. Konarka is the leading manufacturer of polymer-based, printed, organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology. Power Plastic is semi-transparent and available in multiple colors as well as a wide range of sizes giving design freedom to architects and builders for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and other glass applications. Power Plastic's flexibility enables it to conform to curves and contours. These lightweight panels are bonded or laminated to a variety of materials and create independent power sources out of tension membrane structures, café umbrellas, awnings and tents. It is manufactured in a roll-to-roll process at low cost and low energy consumption making it favorable for the environment. Konarka has a broad portfolio of patents, technology licenses and an accomplished technical, scientific and manufacturing team. The company is headquartered in Lowell, MA, USA with European operations based in Nürnberg, Germany. Its full scale manufacturing facility is based in New Bedford, MA, USA with R&D facilities in Lowell and Nürnberg. Konarka maintains sales offices in Japan, Germany and the USA. For additional information, visit http://www.konarka.com.

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Power Your iPod Beach Mix with a Solar Powered Bikini


Power Your iPod Beach Mix with a Solar Powered Bikini

We know it’s probably getting chilly wherever you are right now, but if you want to get a good deal on next season’s beachwear, now’s the time to shop, right? Might we suggest this solar-powered bikini? It’s totally available for sale—and it’s low-entry solar applications could change the way we power small devices.

Doesn’t this just seem like the kind of impracticable project that comes out of some formative Brooklyn hipster’s hallucinogenic-induced brainstorm? Well, it is. But guys, it’s real. So real that you can totally order a USB-powering photovoltaic bikini for yourself right now.
Brooklyn-based designer Andrew Schneider designed this Solar Coterie bikini to function as a beach-goers back-up power source, able to charge up small USB devices, like your cell phone or MP3 player, using only the sun’s rays.
Even though it takes Schneider about 80 hours to make one of these high-tech bikinis by hand-stitching flexible photovoltaic film strips together with conductive thread, they can be bought for a bargain at just under $200. Interested? Hit up SolarCoterie.com and send in a custom suit request.
Even if you’re not in the market for photovoltaic beachwear, it’s still a very cool concept that could have some other lifestyle applications. Having a roof full of solar panels powering an energy-neutral home is still a little out-of-reach for most apartment dwellers, but it’s a little more attainable and affordable to have a few photovoltaic strips stitched into the curtains to power up a table lamp, for instance.

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Solar powered ipods and iphones……eventually


iPhones, iPods to be solar-powered?

A list of patents released September 20 revealed that Apple has been granted its second solar power patent of 2011, suggesting that the company could one day begin manufacturing solar-powered, portable devices.

The list of 20 newly granted patents granted to Apple Inc was released September 20 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Of these patents, number 8,022,571 relates to the incorporation of solar cells in portable electronic devices, specifically “methods, systems, and apparatuses for implementing circuitry that can be used to control multiple solar cells to generate power for a portable electronic device.”

While Apple is unlikely to produce such a device in the immediate future, it is the second time the company has been awarded a patent for solar power in 2011; the first was awarded in January and also related to solar-powered portable devices.

The integration of renewable energy technology into personal electronic devices seems likely to be the next area of competition between tech companies, with Apple’s patent rival Samsung announcing the launch of the 10 inch NC215S solar powered Netbook on September 20

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So many great things going on in the world of technology and energy, and everything. I love the good stuff. Keep in mind Soccket the kinetic soccer ball, and SMIT, Solar Ivy, whom I sent an email to and hope we can meet and talk in person. And there’s Apple’s patent filing for solar technology and product design. I am really happy with the movement, the energy, so many cool ideas happenine. I LOVE THE SOCCER BALL _ KINETIC ENERGY ROCKS.

And this past Saturday, I had a terrific time at the Solar Workshop held at the Greater Newark Conservancy. Such a fabulous group of people, everyone with their varied backgrounds, notions and ideas, and just happy to be there. Thinking about the possibilities. We were all there to learn and collaborate on the making of a solar panel – learning to solder, string cells together, understand watts and amps, and all sorts of things. I can’t wait to set up my workshop and string together some cells.

And how about the ipod like thermostat that takes on the ideas and innovations of the Apple nation. Partly because it was designed by one of the inventors of the ipod. He saw a need while building his own sustainably minded home. After thousands of dollars, and a great amount of thought that went into the sustainable energy measures in this new home, how could he put a mediocre product to monitor the energy. There was nothing on the market that answered the call. So he created it.

“The Nest Learning Thermostat is gorgeous, intuitive, and more necessary than you think. Just like a certain blockbuster MP3 player was once upon a time.”

Ah, How great to be a product designer for innovative sustainably minded technology products!

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Solar Artworks


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