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Midsummer’s Solar Cells Help Set New Fuel Efficiency Record in Shell Eco Marathon

published: 2014-08-13 18:04

With help from Midsummer’s CIGS thin film solar cells, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) set a new Swedish fuel efficiency record with 181.5 km/kWh in the Shell Eco Marathon competition.

Shell Eco Marathon, being held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, is a competition for universities that compete in how far they can make a vehicle travel on the energy equivalent to 1 liter of fuel. Participants in the contest must come up with innovative solutions to create fuel-efficient vehicles. KTH participated with the car "Elba" and finished in fifth place. The new improved “Elba” was able to set a new Swedish record of 181.5 km/kWh, which can be compared to a car that drives a distance of 158 kilometers for a total cost of around 1 Swedish Krona (0.11 EUR or USD 0.15).

“The solar cells needed to be integrated into the car's design,” said Alex Witt, Production Manager at Midsummer. “Midsummer's flexible thin film solar cells on stainless steel, which could easily follow the curved body of the vehicle without cracking, are a good solution for the vehicle. The custom-made flexible solar cell modules were placed strategically on the vehicle to optimize the exposure of the sun and thereafter connected in series to generate as high voltage as possible into the system. This solution would have been impossible with silicon solar cells as they crack easily.”

CIGS flexible solar modules are growing in popularity thanks to their low weight, flexibility and durability. Applications are e.g. floating modules, vehicles, landfills, portable power generation and membrane roofs on factories, offices and other structures that are not strong enough for traditional glass modules.

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