This solar jacket will change mountaineering

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The energy of the sun is used everywhere in our cities. Whether traditional panels, or integrated with a blind like SolarGaps or in a solar jacket. CIMALP is a company located in the heart of the Drôme. For more than 50 years the French SME designs clothes for mountain enthusiasts.

They come to collaborate with Dracula Technologies, a start-up specializing in the design of innovative solar panels. E Marsanne, the director general of CIMALP presents us his solar jacket designed with Dracula.

How is the solar jacket innovative?

It does not just integrate a traditional solar panel. Dracula Technologies integrates by ultrasonic welding a photovoltaic solution suspected on a fabric. In the future it will be possible to use an inkjet printer, similar to that on any office. This energy solution works in very low light or even with artificial light. Nevertheless, its efficiency is lower than that of a silicon tile. The solar jacket will not look like a solar panel at all, because it will be completely invisible and placed in strategic places.

Why want to add electricity to a jacket?

First of all it is not primarily to charge his phone. Even if the jacket allows it, just buy an external battery and the result is the same. No, the goal is to be able to integrate heating technologies, like graphene. Solar panels can provide the energy needed to heat gloves, jacket, pantsIn short, all parts of the body essential to sport in extreme conditions. It will also be possible to create light phosphorescent or in the form of a lamp. The goal is to see the night and be seen, for better security. That's why this solar jacket will revolutionize mountaineering.

CIMALP mountain jacket
At the editorial office we tested the prototype jacket

Where is the project today?

The project has progressed a lot with the first prototype made in triplicate. I say that this is only DIY for now. But within three years the first solar jacket with a printed panel should see the light of day.

How does the technology work?

Solar panel printing is now possible. This allowed Dracula to win the first prize in the Hello Tomorrow contest. For this it will also be necessary that the batteries evolve. They are promised a bright future with growing demand and research in the field.

CIMALP mountain jacket

What will be the cost of such a solar jacket?

We do not sound in terms of production prices. We prefer see the budget that the consumer finds acceptable. This jacket without solar panel is sold today 270 euros on our site. It is well below the rates that we find traditionally around 400 euros. Our goal is not to increase the price of over 100 euros compared to a classic jacket. It is a big issue, but achievable today.

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