Flexible High-Efficiency Corrugated Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells for Application in Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Payload Transportation
KAUST DepartmentComputer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division
Electrical Engineering Program
Integrated Nanotechnology Lab
Online Publication Date2020-08-17
Print Publication Date2020-11
Embargo End Date2022-07-21
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/664582
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AbstractIn recent years, small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) have proven to be exceptionally useful. However, most of the commercially available drones are electric powered and therefore have a short endurance. Solar powered UAVs have recently received increased attention due to their ability to fly continuously for several days using solar energy. For this purpose, solar cells must show high-efficiency, lightweight and ultra-flexibility in order to be fully compliant to the drone wings/body and avoid degrading its aerodynamic characteristics. Nevertheless, previous demonstrations used rigid/semi-flexible cells. Here, corrugated ultra-flexible silicon solar cells (19% efficiency) with a smaller specific weight (645 g/m2, encapsulated) are considered and used. A theoretical comparison between the performances of the corrugated vs. commercial semi-flexible cells is performed in terms of flight endurance in “AtlantikSolar” UAV. The results show that due to the ultra-lightweight of the corrugated cells and their ability to expand at higher temperatures without bowing, an enhancement in the flight time up to 19% can be achieved compared to the commercial cells which enables heavier payloads (7 lbs) transportation. Finally, the corrugated cells (12.5 cm by 4 cm) are experimentally tested on a small-sized drone under different conditions indoors and a 10% extended flight is reported.
CitationEl-Atab, N., Khan, S. M., & Hussain, M. M. (2020). Flexible High-Efficiency Corrugated Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells for Application in Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Payload Transportation. Energy Technology. doi:10.1002/ente.202000670
SponsorsThe work is supported by the Lockheed Martin and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR).