Create a polymer hybrid optical fiber for efficient and economical solar energy

2018/05/31 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

High performance polymer doped optical fibers to concentrate sunlight and transport it to Ed photovoltaic cells. Itxaso Parola Sunday/EHU

Telecommunications engineer Itxaso Parola Domingo has achieved a new, economical and efficient polymer optical fiber that acts as a luminescent solar concentrator.

Although the most suitable photovoltaic cells developed so far are silicon, they have many aspects to improve: silicon sources are limited, require large installation surfaces, need direct sunlight, so they require solar tracking systems, etc. All this increases access to solar energy.

To solve this, Itxaso Parola Domingo, in collaboration with other researchers from the UPV and the University of Braunschweig, has developed a hybrid doping polymer fiber optic. To improve the characteristics of optical fiber, a doping agent composed of organic and inorganic components has been incorporated into the polymer.

Parola explained that hybrid polymer optical fiber acts as a luminescent solar concentrator that absorbs sunlight and emits it to a greater wavelength, transports light to the end of the optical fiber with all its internal reflection and at the end is located the photovoltaic cell. It is the first time that polymer optical fibers with organic and inorganic components are used.

The result has been very good, as in addition to having higher performance than silicon photovoltaic cells (especially on cloudy days), it is much cheaper.