GRENOBLE – Transferring technological value to SMEs is an objective per se
for France-based CEA-Leti research center. One illustration is the co-development of a solar-powered roller shutter with France-based Bubendorff SAS.
The integration of smart systems in our daily lives –housing, lighting, e-health, and transportation- opens new opportunities for innovation to the industry. CEA-Leti has developed methodologies to help SMEs, and in this case Bubendorff, define the innovation process from the concept to the product. This includes the identification of the sweet spot, the integration of the most advanced technologies and the support for industrialization.
After six years of collaboration with CEA-Leti, Bubendorff said it has introduced a roller shutter 100-percent powered by the sun. The energy savings is 61kwh per year and per roller shutter, claimed Thomas Fritsch, Bubendorff's product development director, at the 14th Leti Annual Review this week in Grenoble, France.
The partnership with CEA-Leti led to the development of an autonomous communicating product with several under projects in electronics, power optimization, motor, and energy management battery. CEA-Leti said it employed 21 man-year, and the first field prototype was launched in 2009.
In 2010, Fritsch said its PV partner Schott decided to stop its production in individual amorphous PV cells. A new mono-crystalline solution was then identified and tested within six months. Still in 2010, an industrialization study was carried out in parallel with the R&D study.
“Our main objective today is to secure our PV furniture so that tomorrow we don’t have risks. We worked with Schott but now with Q-Cells.”
Bubendorff now holds twelve patents concerning power optimization, the dynamic control of a roller shutter, the optimal drive of a battery and the detection of objects.
Fritsch said the technology for the battery is Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery. “We don’t load and unload the battery completely to ensure the maximum lifetime of the battery. Today, we don’t feel there are good solutions with Li-ion.”
The roller shutter can be installed in all exposures including the north façade of the house. Two limits, however, remain: the balcony and opposite walls.
Fritsch outlined the good complementarities between CEA-Leti and Bubendorff. “Our chance was that we had a safe feeling for the production launch. With a hundred roller shutters a day, we want more. The feedbacks are good so the volume is growing.”
All shutters are tested for 21000 cycles, which represents about 30 years. The PV life expectancy is estimated to be 20 years, Fritsch concluded.------------------------
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