Putting Textiles to generate energy: Smart Fabrics of the Future

What if our textile-based awnings, tents, pagodas, parasols, pergolas, and covers could generate electricity or energy for us? Say hello to the smart fabrics of the Future. Ana Rodes, director of R&D projects at the Aitex textile technology center, has developed an awning to generate energy sustainably. The project integrates photovoltaic cells in fabrics to make the most of solar energy. The materials could adapt to both curved and flat designs, which are easy to transport and withstand climatic conditions, yet are economical.

The Rodes project is committed to thin-film panels, which are flexible, lightweight, and semi-transparent. As she explains, until now, it had been possible to integrate this type of photovoltaic cell in glass, ceramic, facades, and roofs. The work is part of a project developed with the support of the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible of the Generalitat Valenciana, through the Institut Valencià de la Competitivitat Empresarial (Ivace).

Researchers believe that the system will be suitable for those products that do not have easy access to an electrical network and whose use implies a long-lasting exposure to the sun, from agriculture to digital printing. Ana explained that “The objective of this type of R&D project is to contribute to the textile sector’s industrial progress through the generation of knowledge, so interested companies can contact Aitex to adapt the development to their specific needs. In my research, I propose its combination with textiles. The prototype has been made to scale a stretched textile structure capable of powering an entire LED lighting system and charging the mobile.”

What if our textile-based awnings, tents, pagodas, parasols, pergolas, and covers could generate electricity or energy for us? Say hello to the smart fabrics of the Future. Ana Rodes, director of R&D projects at the Aitex textile technology center, has developed an awning to generate energy sustainably. The project integrates photovoltaic cells in fabrics to make the most of solar energy. The materials could adapt to both curved and flat designs, which are easy to transport and withstand climatic conditions, yet are economical. 

The Rodes project is committed to thin-film panels, which are flexible, lightweight, and semi-transparent. As she explains, until now, it had been possible to integrate this type of photovoltaic cell in glass, ceramic, facades, and roofs. The work is part of a project developed with the support of the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible of the Generalitat Valenciana, through the Institut Valencià de la Competitivitat Empresarial (Ivace).

Researchers believe that the system will be suitable for those products that do not have easy access to an electrical network and whose use implies a long-lasting exposure to the sun, from agriculture to digital printing. Ana explained that “The objective of this type of R&D project is to contribute to the textile sector’s industrial progress through the generation of knowledge, so interested companies can contact Aitex to adapt the development to their specific needs. In my research, I propose its combination with textiles. The prototype has been made to scale a stretched textile structure capable of powering an entire LED lighting system and charging the mobile.”

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