From pvGlobal magazine

french chemical company accentuated and solar module maker Photowatt, a unit of French energy giant EDF, are jointly developing a self-cleaning coating for solar panels under the umbrella of the European project PV Iimpact, which is being coordinated by the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers and aims to stimulate the private sector to spend more on photovoltaic research, development and innovation in Europe.

The coating will be based orNorth photoactive nanotechnology and marketed under the Exocoat brand. It is described by the two companies as a Self-cleaning coating for glass substrates, activated by light. “Under light radiation, the coating creates radicals that break down any organic soil or contamination,” they said in a joint statement. airborne particles such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Nitric oxide (NOx) are also eradicated.”

The coating is based a super-hydrophilic surface that causes water to spread over the surface of the module immediatelyly, thus avoiding light dispersion effects on rain. Furthermore, this surface is said to increase the carcleaning effect by let the water flow under the dirt and remove it by gravity cash. “A more practical method of following the effects on the surface is its response to a powdery substance that would cause fouling and the effect to water spray. The hydrophilic surface of the coating will have less static charge and, as a result, will attract less dirt,” the statement read.

Scientists from the two companies tested the coating on a carbon powder against a plate that was half coated with Exocoat. they sprayed water in the dish and found that the coated side showed complete and self moisturizingcleaning due to the water sheet effect. “A vital point for Exocoat’s performance as a self-cleaning coating is its correct application on the glass/solar panel surface,” said Arno Schut, innovation manager at Axcentive. “Incorrect application can lead to inferior technical performance. Axcentive has written application protocols based on manual and automated applications that were developed in the lab and need to be tested on site.”

Currently, the two companies seek to improve their technology by seeking spray equipment manufacturers.

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