Flexible High-Efficiency Corrugated Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells for Application in Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Payload Transportation

Nazek Elatab, Sherjeel M. Khan, Muhammad Mustafa Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent years, small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) have proven to be exceptionally useful. However, most of the commercially available drones are electric powered and therefore have a short endurance. Solar powered UAVs have recently received increased attention due to their ability to fly continuously for several days using solar energy. For this purpose, solar cells must show high-efficiency, lightweight and ultra-flexibility in order to be fully compliant to the drone wings/body and avoid degrading its aerodynamic characteristics. Nevertheless, previous demonstrations used rigid/semi-flexible cells. Here, corrugated ultra-flexible silicon solar cells (19% efficiency) with a smaller specific weight (645 g/m2, encapsulated) are considered and used. A theoretical comparison between the performances of the corrugated vs. commercial semi-flexible cells is performed in terms of flight endurance in “AtlantikSolar” UAV. The results show that due to the ultra-lightweight of the corrugated cells and their ability to expand at higher temperatures without bowing, an enhancement in the flight time up to 19% can be achieved compared to the commercial cells which enables heavier payloads (7 lbs) transportation. Finally, the corrugated cells (12.5 cm by 4 cm) are experimentally tested on a small-sized drone under different conditions indoors and a 10% extended flight is reported.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEnergy Technology
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 7 2020

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