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Ultralight and flexible wearable batteries to be developed at HIT

Prof. Alla Zak awarded prestigious grant from the NATO Cooperative Security Committee for Project ESCAPE (Ultralight WearablE Solar Cells as A Portable Electricity Source)


Prof. Alla Zak


Prof. Zak, together with four colleagues from highly regarded Italian research institutions, have been awarded a sizeable grant to develop a wearable ultralight and flexible solar cell that is green, renewable and can be worn with ease by soldiers in the field. The cells are not only portable, but also can be used by the military to re-charge themselves when outdoors on a mission. The cells are based on two of the most promising nanomaterials, graphene and semiconducting nanotubes. The latter will be prepared in Prof. Zak’s laboratory on the HIT campus.


This innovative project will provide real solutions to a thorny problem which often arises in military operations: how to re-charge the energy source in challenging field conditions where energy supplies are not accessible. 


While wearable batteries do exist, they can often degrade in hot and humid environments, are not environmentally friendly, nor are they necessarily bio-compatible. The solar cells being developed with the support of this highly competitive NATO grant by Dr. Zak and her Italian colleagues will be able to provide a new portable platform for harvesting solar energy even in the harshest of environments. They will also advance our knowledge on the bulk photovoltaic effect (BPVE), which can ultimately lead to cheaper fabrication of devices and more efficient and economic solutions. 


The success of the project draws from the extensive experience and track record of the highly accomplished research teams: Prof. Alla Zak, Director of the Nanomaterials Laboratories at HIT; Dr Luca Camilli University of Rome Tor Vergata; Prof. Maurizio Passacantando, University of L’Aquila, Coppito; Prof Antonio Di Bartolomeo, University of Salerno, Fisciano; Dr Filippo Giubileo, National Research Council, Fisciano. Greatcell Solar Italia SRL (the end user in the project) will ensure that the device being manufactured complies with international standards.


Posted: 20/02/2022