Solar charger concept: Is it really such a stretch?

Hard to imagine (I know I had to read it twice to be certain), but this solar charger contains a Power Plastic panel that can be stretched under direct sunlight! 

It’s dubbed Kuaray, the Guarani word for sun.

The Kuaray solar panel, designed by Ruben Freire, is a nifty concept, comprising the aforementioned stretchable solar panel and a lithium-ion battery that harvests and stores the solar energy from the panel. And the Kuaray – with its organic particles of plastic, lithium ions, discarded aluminum soda cans and corn – is not merely autonomous but almost fully recyclable.

The plastic case is the intriguing part. Made from Mirel, a patented material made from a biodegradable resin produced by Metabolix, which in 2006 joint ventured with agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland to commercialize Mirel.

The founders of Metabolix, Oliver Peoples and Anthony Sinskey, were the first to demonstrate that PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates, a naturally occurring form of polyester) could be produced using recombinant organisms in a biological fermentation process.

Kuaray capitalizes on this discovery, wedding a bio-based, light activated plastic developed by Konarka to a lithium-ion battery in a configuration that allows the solar panel not only to charge electronic devices like cell phones and MP3s, but to serve as a container for same.

The solar sheet itself is printed in a continuous roll-to-roll process that both reduces costs and lowers the environmental burden of traditional silicon-based solar. And, because it contains suction cups at each corners, the solar panelized container can be affixed to any sunny window for full charging, very much like this Premium solar charger we highlighted in February.

* Jeanne Roberts, EarthTechling