Materials-by-design approach to nanotechnology coatings optimise energy generation and prevent surface contamination
Cambridge, UK 7th November 2017 Opus Materials Technologies Ltd, industrial coating specialists, together with TWI Ltd, global leaders in nanotechnology engineering and research, are in the advanced stages of developing a ground-breaking anti-soiling, self-cleaning & durable industrial coating for application onto solar panels.
Branded as Solar Sharc®, this innovative new coating is being taken to market by Opus who are working with a consortium of researchers and commercial companies including TWI, Above Surveying Ltd, Cornelius Specialties Ltd and Loughborough University (CREST).
Senior representatives from Opus were invited to showcase their material-by-design approach to the coating development at the first global workshop on the subject, hosted by DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) research and development centre and NREL (the National Renewable Energy Laboratory). The PV anti-soiling workshop ran alongside the world-acclaimed WETEX exhibition, which took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 23-25 October.
According to industry reports, surface contamination of solar modules leads to a significant loss in solar irradiance, which can reduce their total power output by up to 50% per month. Such large energy losses have a direct impact on O&M costs, energy security as well as reduce the perceived benefits of investing in solar energy.
Solar Sharc's® unique chemical composition dynamically eliminates the surface contamination of solar modules. Indeed, initial field trials have demonstrated that it has the potential to optimise the energy generation of large-scale solar farms because it reduces the need for manual cleaning.
Solar Sharc® features functionalised nano particles that can be incorporated into conventional coating materials. The result is a highly robust and durable coating that has a ‘lotus leaf' effect which repels external pollutants such as sand, salt or ash, thus making it mechanically resilient to environmental ageing.
"Energy losses caused by solar module surface contamination are extremely high and are impacted by both local and global weather conditions," comments David Hannan Business Development Director of Opus Media Technologies. "Our materials-by-design approach allows us to overcome soiling issues associated with solar module energy production cost effectively, making its widespread adoption economically viable across large scale installations across the globe, particularly in the developing world."
Opus Materials Technologies are already in negotiations with major players in the renewable energies industry, and a beta trial is underway at the DEWA Solar Test Facility of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.