A considerable interest grew up in the last weeks about the news that one of the research group at IMEM developed portable photovoltaic power systems to charge low-power devices. The used solar cells are flexible and, hence, can be applied to curve surfaces like those, for example. of a beach umbrella.
These are the link to the news reports on national RAI national TV channels:
TG1 TG2 TGR TGR
This is the link to the TV show "Lineaverde":
These are the link to Radio shows:
Interview on Radio1 in the show "Un disco per l'esteta"
Interview on ENEL Radio
In these interviews, Stefano Rampino described the main characteristics and the woking priniple of the NewPV-3 system:
"The original idea for these systems started with the increasing need to have smartphones or tablets always available and working while connected to the mobile network. An intense usage of these devices often decreases their battery life and, hence, they need to be recharged more than once per day. When you are far from your home or office, like walking around in the city or at vacation places, it is generally difficoult to find a power outlet to plug your smartphone. Powerbank were usually the better solution to increase the battery life, but they need to be charged too.
Our system, called "NewPV-3", allows you to freely exploit the solar energy wherever you are, thanks to a mini photovoltaic module that was properly designed to charge up to 6 smartphones at the same time, with no need to reach the power grid, at zero cost and zero CO2 emission. Mini modules are easily transportable and installable, don't need maintainance, are waterproof and can resist to moderate mechanical deformationa. Each system is composed of a mini solar module and an operative unit, to which devices can be connected through USB or standard 12V cables.
Actually three of our systems are installed for demonstration at the "Baia Blu" swimming pool, inside the Campus of Parma University: one on a sun bed, one on a beach umbrella and one on a sunshade."
Size and weight: photovoltaic mini modules have an area up to 50x60cm2 and, thanks to the new encapsulating technique and their plastic frame, weigh only 7.5g/Wp (traditional modules are 75-100 g/Wp). A mini module to charge 6 devices at the same time weighs less than 400g.
Flexibility and portability: the used solar cells are flexible, so by mounting the on flexible metal or plastic frames, it is possible to install them even on curve surfaces. This characteristic, together with the low wieght, grants an easy installation on almost any surface, even vertical and not rigid ones, without any tool or bulk anchoring systems.
Power stabilization and battery: mini modules are connected with the operative unit that continuously monitors and manages the instant power that comes from them. The best strategy for fast recharging is continuously recalculated, depending on the number of connected devices and the solar irradiation. Operative unit is now 15x15x6cm3 and weighs 900g. Storage devices are installed inside the unit and they can temporarily buffer the sudden power decrease due to cloud cover and extend the unit operativity up to 6 hours without the sun light.
Examples of use: the solar systems can be temporarily integrated on mani different existing objects, like building walls, sunshades, canopies, tables. Mini modules can be also produced with an extetic "camouflage" to blend in with the environment.
‘Solar Network’: an interestin application for the NewPV-3 systems is the possibility to form a network of delocalized systems on a large area (urban districtsm squares, swimming pool parks) and the capability of communicating each other through Wi-Fi without the need to be connected to the power grid. In this way, systems like these can be exploited to power and interconnect environmental or weather sensors, motion sensors, video-surveiilance devices, connectivity devices.