DURHAM, N.C.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Semprius, Inc., an innovator in high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar modules, recently delivered a specially-designed lightweight version of its record-breaking solar module to the Nuon Solar Team to help power the Nuna7, the Team’s solar car entry at the World Solar Challenge 2013.
“We feel privileged to be able to work with the Nuon Solar Team this year and wish them the best of luck during the race.”
Semprius manufactures the highest efficiency mass-produced solar modules in the world, announcing in September a new record of 35.5 percent – two to three times more efficient than conventional photovoltaic modules. Semprius’ unique design couples solar cells as small as the head of a pin with established semiconductor and microelectronic manufacturing processes to deliver highly efficient, reliable, cost-competitive modules.
The World Solar Challenge is the most important race in the world for solar vehicles. Covering 3,000 kilometers, the race begins in Darwin, Australia on October 6th and finishes in Adelaide, Australia on October 13th. Competitors include 40 teams from 29 countries. Each day, the race begins at 8AM and concludes at 5PM, with teams camping overnight next to the route. Only solar energy can be used to power the cars.
The Nuon Solar Team is a group of 16 engineering students from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The Team has been competing in the World Solar Challenge for the past 12 years, winning the competition in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and finishing second in 2009 and 2011. In 2011, the Nuon Solar Team finished just one hour behind the winning team.
Earlier this year, the Nuon Solar Team approached Semprius hoping to leverage Semprius’ record module efficiency and compact module design to reclaim the title in 2013. A key challenge, however, was to reduce module weight as much as possible to meet the stringent requirements of the race that limit each team to a total budget of only 160 kilograms. With input from the Team, Semprius modified their standard commercial modules to reduce their weight by sixty percent. Changes included substituting Semprius’ standard front cover glass with a thinner, lightweight glass sheet and replacing Semprius’ steel module enclosures with carbon fiber.
Because Semprius modules must be pointed directly at the sun to generate electricity, the modules cannot be used while the car is in motion. During the race, however, there are mandatory 30 minute breaks every 300 kilometers. During these breaks, the Semprius modules will be deployed on manual trackers to capture extra energy for the Nuna7. Jorrit Vervoordeldonk, Technical Manager of the Nuon Solar Team, calculates that by using Semprius’ modules, it should be possible to decrease the Team’s overall racing time by one hour – perhaps providing the margin of victory for the Team.
“We are very excited to use Semprius’ innovative, ultra-high efficiency solar modules,” said Jorrit Vervoordeldonk, Technical Manager of the Nuon Solar Team. “Delivering approximately 30 watts per kilogram with a thickness less than 7 centimeters, we hope that Semprius’ modules can provide us with an extra advantage that will help us win this year.”
“While we are primarily focused on commercial and utility-scale applications, this new design provides us with a lightweight, ruggedized capability for specialized military and other applications,” said Russell Kanjorski, vice president of Business Development at Semprius. “We feel privileged to be able to work with the Nuon Solar Team this year and wish them the best of luck during the race.”
Semprius, Inc. holds the record for commercial solar module efficiency, reaching 35.5% percent. Using the world’s smallest commercial solar cells and applying state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, Semprius is leading the next generation of cost-competitive, sustainable solar electricity. Semprius was named to MIT Technology Review’s 2013 50 Disruptive Companies List, an annual list of the world’s most innovative technology companies. Semprius’ headquarters and production facilities are located in North Carolina, USA. For more information, please visit www.semprius.com.