Technology

Developed Self-Cleaning Solar Panels

Contamination in solar panels reduces efficiency. To solve this problem, scientists in Germany developed a new self-cleaning coating for solar panels.

Solar panels suffer from a decrease in their efficiency due to pollution. Due to the pollution problem, solar panels need to be cleaned at regular intervals, but this process requires a significant amount of time and cost. In this context, German scientists have developed an ultra-thin coating that allows solar panels or other surfaces to be self-cleaning.

The Pollution Problem in Solar Panels Will Be Solved

The sun is one of the largest renewable energy sources, and almost every country is investing heavily in this area today. As the newly established huge facilities follow one another, the solution of the pollution problem becomes more important. Because there can be thousands or even millions of solar panels in giant facilities, and it is quite unreasonable to give people a wiper to clean them. Autonomous systems that clean solar panels are also currently being developed, but researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute have developed a thin self-cleaning coating.

The main component of the developed coating is titanium oxide. In its normal state, titanium oxide forms droplets that repel water and roll easily. Using this material in a very thin coating, engineers use the reaction of titanium oxide when exposed to UV light for the “self-cleaning” phenomenon. Titanium oxide, when exposed to sunlight, reacts exactly the opposite of its normal state, attracting water. In this way, a thin layer of water is formed on the surface of the panel and thus the coating.

Therefore, as long as the sun is in the sky, dust or dirt does not stick to the surface as the thin layer of water keeps it away. When the sun goes down, titanium oxide shows its magic face and begins to push the water in particles. In this way, the collected dirt and dust are removed from the surface. As a bonus, titanium oxide also destroys organic molecules when exposed to UV light, effectively sterilizing the surface.

There Is A Durability Issue For Now

In fact, this idea has been applied to self-cleaning glass before, but it has often appeared as either a water-repellent or water-repellent mechanism. We can say that this solution combines the two. The Fraunhofer team’s new coating is designed to be produced in roll form and can be applied to existing solar panels, windows or other surfaces.

As part of the tests, the team used a pilot plant to produce the 30 cm wide, 20 m long pavement and only 100 micrometers thick. However, this coating is in the early stages of development and does not yet have sufficient durability. Therefore, this coating is currently very fragile and vulnerable to heat.

Ece Nagihan

Hello, I'm Ece, I write content for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check!

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