Kirigami Paper-Cutting Art Inspires a Wild Solar Energy Idea; Unique design allows cells to stretch and tilt, following the sun and maximizing efficiency.
Christina Nunez, September 8, 2015 (National Geographic)
“…Inspired by the Japanese art of kirigami, researchers at the University of Michigan have created a lattice-like cell that can stretch like an accordion, allowing it to tilt along the sun's trajectory and capture more energy…[according to Dynamic kirigami structures for integrated solar tracking. A basic problem with solar arrays is that the] sun moves; panels typically don't. That means energy is lost as the sun changes position, unless panels are mounted on mechanized bases that can tilt to follow the light throughout the day. Tracking systems can be expensive…The kirigami cells are made of flexible, thin-film gallium arsenide strips that have been cut in a simple, two-dimensional pattern. When the cells are stretched, the pattern pops out and allows them to become three-dimensional, tracking the sun over a radius of about 120 degrees [and collect 30 percent more solar energy than conventional cells]. The idea joins several others aimed at making solar more efficient and widespread, from transparent cells that could be used on windows to sticky ones that could be planted anywhere…” click here for more