According to a new IDTechEx report, an important new trend is buying electrics and electronics you customize to function not just shape. The report titled “Complete Electronics as Smart Material, User-Customized 2020-2040,” shows that builders, textile manufacturers, those doing home improvement and others are starting to buy electrically-smart materials direct from materials companies, bypassing the electronics industry. For example, InfinityPV self-adhesive solar tape cuts to any length and that decides voltage and power produced, not just shape. Increasingly, other reconfigurable electrical and electronic material can be stretched, pressed, or cut to shape on arrival. Expect electrically smart material fed into 3D printers – another a huge opportunity for the added-value materials industry.
“If you can get your battery, supercapacitor or solar power from area, you do not need the highest efficiency,” says Raghu Das, IDTechEx CEO. “This is often the logic behind the new plastic-film forms of new thermoelectrics, piezoelectrics, triboelectrics, electrets and photovoltaics and of wide-area cuttable, printed or painted sensors. Biodegradable papertronics with ink and pens using, resistive, conductive, light-emitting and semiconductive inks are also part of this.”
University of Tokyo researchers demonstrate plastic film hybrid electronics saying, “You can do more than just cut this sheet into fun or interesting shapes. It is thin and flexible. You can mold it around curved surfaces such as bags and clothes.”
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory has polymer-sheet batteries you cut to shape for chosen energy storage and locations. They work even after being shot and soaked. The University of Buffalo fabricates kirigami-inspired stretchable electronics you cut and shape and that also alters electric and mechanical properties. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore shows a fabric-like wearable supercapacitor that can be cut, folded, or stretched and it even demonstrates customizable stretchability of its wearable electronics, says a press release.
Unrolling like a carpet, Renovagen photovoltaics will soon be available up to a huge 300kW output. You choose power by choosing length and width. It can unroll across a field as a temporary microgrid for outdoor events or charging the farmer’s new robots in distant places. The basic copper indium gallium diselenide CIGS technology has been applied as film to buses and building facades competing with the more colorful, less-efficient Heliatek organic photovoltaic film which both refreshes a building and makes it greener.
Buy a Pot of Solar Power
NYU Tandon, University of Buffalo, Peking University and others have demonstrated painted photovoltaics and now seek efficiency high enough to commercialize them. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology even has solar paint that creates hydrogen fuel.
Stamping Cars From Reels of Electrics
Cars were made with huge rolls of steel stamped into bodywork by the car factory. One day they may be stamped out of huge reels of solar + supercapacitor sourced by the car factory from materials companies. “Free” electricity reducing the weight, taking no space, more reliable and lasting much longer.