A Plymouth Science Park company is currently perfecting ground breaking design work on solar panels which is set to completely revolutionise green technology – with its application potentially benefitting the whole planet.
Dr Zaki Ahmed, technical director at Pulsiv Solar, has been working at PSP for the past three years. His research has resulted in a considerable increase in the amount of energy which can be produced by a solar panel.
“Our methods are unique and revolutionary,” he explains. “We ensure the loss is minimised and, as such, we can extract more energy than the market leader.”
“It’s ground breaking for the world market as its application means that solar panels could become smaller and more efficient. It would make a considerable difference for developing countries at a fundamental level.”
There are currently prototypes of his inverter at Plymouth Science Park, London and Cambridge. He believes his work will allow the panels to be more efficient, even when operating in challenging conditions. It also means the panel will produce more power during the course of its lifetime.
“Plymouth Science Park has been able to provide everything very quickly and efficiently which has been beneficial for my research,” says Dr Ahmed.
“The PSP on-site team had good flexibility for setting up this type of bespoke laboratory. They were able to put solar panels outside at very short notice which was crucial for setting up the correct environment to create the technology for the data to be produced.”
His work, which is being developed further by Bosch UK, has received grant funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
“We are very excited to have Bosch’s collaboration and support on the industrialisation of our micro-inverter, and potentially other products,” says Dr Ahmed.
“This collaboration means I expect Pulsiv will be able to deliver an average improvement of more than 5 per cent in the energy exported to the electrical grid.”
His research has further been enhanced by Frontier IP Group, which is a specialist in commercialising intellectual property generated by University research. It is the commercialisation partner for the University of Plymouth and currently supports six spin out companies, including Pulsiv Solar.
“Other solar technologies promising improvements to energy efficiency typically have to be installed as new,” explains Chief Executive Neil Crabb.
“We are very pleased with the progress Pulsiv Solar is making. This agreement with Bosch supports validation of the Company’s patented photovoltaic inverter technology and we are looking forward to developments across other applications in the future.”
“What is particularly exciting about Pulsiv Solar is its technology can be retrofitted to existing photovoltaic solar panels to provide major improvements in their energy output. This means it has the potential to really move the needle in the solar industry.”
“The other thing that appealed to me is the idea for the technology came from Zaki’s background in a different field. Often, intellectual property with the most impact arises from applying thinking in one discipline to another. Finally, having spoken to leading industry players, we believe the economics are compelling.”
“Bosch is currently engaged with Pulsiv Solar for industrialisation of their solution which increases the power output from solar panels,” says Mahesh Chikodi, UK country head of Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions.
“Pulsiv has technology which increases the output of solar panels by up to 30 per cent and Bosch with its leading engineering expertise on software and sensors will aim to accelerate the product development and testing.”
Commenting on the synergy between the businesses, Ian McFadzen, CEO of PSP, said, “This injection of grant funding and the associated collaboration with a leading industry prime is an exciting opportunity for this ground breaking University of Plymouth Spin Out.”
Dr Zaki Ahmed is an Associate Professor at the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics at the University of Plymouth.
David Mozley, Intellectual Property Manager at the University of Plymouth, said, “The development of Pulsiv Solar has been a great success story so far for Zaki and the University, and demonstrates the value of commercialising world class research and intellectual property. And the fact that Plymouth Science Park has been able to offer a supportive and nurturing environment reflects well upon this city’s ability to develop and grow potentially cutting edge businesses and enterprise.”