As leisure culture is developed and spread, numerous families are enjoying camping in mountains and valleys in summer. But these campers cannot sufficiently use electric and electronic appliances, such as lamps and smart phones, because they have to rely on charged batteries in many cases.
But the time is coming when they can fully enjoy camping even at places where electric power is not available if they have ‘portable solar photovoltaic charging system’.
Though solar charging systems are convenient as they can be used any time where sunlight is available, they are still unsatisfactory for campers due to heavy weight and large volume that limit mobility and portability.
According to the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of portable solar charging system-related technologies applied for patents in Korea reaches 76. About 70% of these were filed during the past 10 years, and the number of applications has been steadily increasing since 2009. The use of sunlight is expanding from caps, mini-electric fans, keyboards, backpacks, bicycles and mobile phones to tents and clothes.
By patented technology categories, the number of module assembling technologies reaches 42, representing 55.3% of the entire patented technologies, and charging technologies, solar cell material technologies, and output control technologies account for 33.0%, 7.9% and 3.9%, respectively.
Most solar charging systems in the past directly charged power as small solar cells are installed in them, but they are now evolving into power supply devices that can charge and store power in attached batteries thanks to diversity in shapes and materials. As diversified solar modules are available, patent applications for technologies for assembling modules and charging systems with light in weight and convenient to carry are increasing.
And yet, solar charging systems are limited in charging performance during outdoor activities and vulnerable to shocks. Under the situation, notable new technologies are flexible high efficiency battery material technology that can charge even on cloudy days and low brightness, and cell design control technology that enables other cells to keep output even when a part of cells are damaged.
An official at the KIPO said, “Most current patented technologies provide performance of charging a smart phone for 2~3 times using solar power, but patent applications for large capacity charging technologies that can charge various electric and electronic devices simultaneously as well as communication, lighting and heating systems are expected to increase in the future. ‘Solar photovoltaic tents’ in which campers can enjoy Internet, music and films while using light and cooking without worrying about electric power will be commercialized soon.”
Source : Ecojournal