Researchers at the U.K.’s Nottingham Trent University (NTU) have developed an e-textile that’s embedded with 1,200 tiny photovoltaic cells. Led by Dr. Theodore Hughes-Riley, associate professor of electronic textiles at the Nottingham School of Art & Design, the experimental project is introducing solar power to garments and accessories. According to the researchers, the miniature panels can generate enough electrical energy to charge a smart phone. After several testing rounds, the e-textile successfully generated 335.3 mWatts in 0.86 sunlight and 394 mWatts under total sun exposure.
With integrated wiring that’s strong and highly flexible, the product is capable of withstanding 104 F (40 C) washing in a machine with other garments. This was accomplished by wrapping the 5 x 1.5 mm photovoltaic cells in discreet and waterproof polymer resin. The e-textile could be incorporated into clothing, such as a jacket, or an accessory such as a purse or backpack. Photo: Nottingham Trent University