The green heroes series was produced by Zoomin.tv and featured a whole series of environmentally conscious designs. SunUp
Was featured due to the novel utilisation of solar cells. If you want to see more of the green heroes series please go check out Zoomin's website
SunUp Solar Backpack
SunUp is a fully articulating solar backpack designed as part of my final year major project. It was a collaborative project with The North Face. If you wish to read a copy of the full final dissertation please get in touch or click the download link at the bottom of the page.
The aim of the project was to address current issues with solar usage whilst out backpacking. Currently, you have two main options, either the more common rigid poly/monocrystalline panels which whilst having a higher efficiency than most at 21%, are much more fragile and prone to breakages.
Your other option is the fully flexible thin-film amorphous silicon panels. whilst these are much more durable than rigid panels as a result of being able to flex and move, they are much less efficient. At only 7% average efficiency.
The aim of my project is to provide a compromise between the two. Combining the efficiency benefits of the rigid panels with the flexibility benefits of the thin-film ones.
By creating the panel out of an array of interconnected panels that are hinged you have the flexibility for the segments to move freely when impacted or dropped. This aims to mitigate breakages and ensures that more of the pack can be utilised for solar energy generation.
The connections between each module are made from interlinked conductive hinges so no issues with work hardening or cyclical degradation on the wires.
The prototype is fully functional and tested in the field. It comfortably charges up its internal 4000mAh battery within 12hrs from its 15w panel.
If you want to read more about the project please download the full project report.
The following are a series of answers to some frequently asked questions about the project, I've tried to be as honest as possible but if I've overlooked any data or my numbers seem off please do email me using the information on the contact page. To find the answers to the questions just click the drop-down icon.
Why not just take a battery bank?
Is it good for the environment?
So why should I buy a product like this?
Is it currently for sale?
What will the mark II be like?