Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dye-sensitized Solar Cells To Power Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Date:
July 27, 2009
Source:
Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Summary:
Dye-sensitized solar cells are expected to power Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles in the future because they are an optimum energy harvesting source that may lead to longer flight times without refueling.

AFOSR MC Best Energy Harvesting Sources for Future AF UAVs. Flexible dye-sensitized solar cell.
Credit: Courtesy of Nagata and Taya, University of Washington

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are expected to power Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the future because they are an optimum energy harvesting source that may lead to longer flight times without refueling.

The University of Washington's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) project team, with lead researcher Dr. Minoru Taya is working on airborne solar cellsby using aflexible film and a thin glass coating with transparent conductive electrodes. He has found that DSSCs made from organic materials, which use (dyes) and moth-eye film, are able to catch photons and convert them into synthesized electrons that can harvest high photon energy.

A few years ago the team mounted dye-sensitized solar cells on the wings of a toy airplane. The propeller was effectively powered, but the plane was not able to become airborne because the glass based solar cells they were using were too heavy.Upon experimentation, they decided to use film battery technology, which worked and in fact, enabled the plane to fly.

"These kinds of solar cells have more specific power convergence efficiency (PCE), very clean energy and easy scalability to a larger skin area of the craft, as well as, low-temperature processing, which leads to lower costs overall," said Taya.

The team is currently working on DSSCs with higher PCEs using bioinspired dyes, which are installed in the wings of the UAV (airborne energy harvesters).

"Any airborne energy harvester must satisfy additional requirements, like weight and durability in airborne environments. If those are met, then there may even be longer UAV flight times," said Taya.

In the meantime, the engineers are researching the challenges of DSSCs' technology and are seeking to learn how durable they are and howwell their technologymay integrate with other Air Force vehicles. The team is also trying to determine how tobuild the solar cells in the wing surface of the aircraft and how to store energy harvested from them.

"Some of these challenges will be overcome by the researchers working under this AFOSR MURI within the next two years. In order to make the DSSCs' solar energy harvester transferable to the wings of an UAV, additional engineering tasks remain, which may require another project to be funded for five additional years," Taya said.

In the end, the team hopes to reach their goal of developing large, flexible DSSCs with higher energy conversion efficiency. Generally, solar cells that are larger have decreased efficiency. Therefore, the team is using a metal grid, which has high surface resistanceand can accelerateelectron transport for larger-sized flexible DSSCs while maintaining high efficiency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "Dye-sensitized Solar Cells To Power Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714124954.htm>.
Air Force Office of Scientific Research. (2009, July 27). Dye-sensitized Solar Cells To Power Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714124954.htm
Air Force Office of Scientific Research. "Dye-sensitized Solar Cells To Power Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714124954.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins