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Winning the race for more solar power

How does a champion solar car go further for longer? By getting more power from the same amount of sun using DSM’s unique solar materials and expertise.

The Nuon Solar Team from the TU Delft (Technical University) won the Sasol Solar Challenge on 1 October 2016 by driving 4,716.7 km across the South African desert in eight days…powered solely by the sun. And a major contributory factor was the adaption of our groundbreaking light-trapping technology to create a new solar module fixed to the top of the winning Nuna8S car.

Uniquely shaped corner cubes

How does it work?

The light-trapping technology features uniquely shaped corner cubes that prevent light from reflecting off the module, while internally reflected light is captured or “trapped”.

Together the Nuon team and DSM built an integrated front sheet and laminated this into flexible modules, which were then glued onto the top shell of the car. Aside from being super-light, the new solar panel is easier to clean without damaging the silicate cells.

A history of collaboration

This represents the latest in a series of innovations that the Nuon team and DSM have achieved together. The team also won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia in October 2015 – with a little help from DSM. In fact, DSM materials and knowledge have been used in:

  • The underside and wheel arches of the car: To increase safety the team integrated Dyneema®, the world's strongest fiber™ to protect against dusty and rocky desert terrain.
  • The trailing edge of the car: Instead of traditional carbon fiber, our Somos® materials - based on the latest stereolithography 3D printing techniques - are used to increase aerodynamics
  • The shell of the car: Solvent-free Daron® resins, manufactured by our Aliancys joint venture, were used to deliver optimum strength at lightest weight compared to conventional styrene-based resin systems.

Why get involved?

Our long-standing partnership with the Nuon team is based on the reality that as a society we need to find new ways to exploit the value of renewable energy as a financially viable alternative to burning fossil fuels.

Our partnership with a new generation of bright minds at TU Delft enables us in turn to continue evolving our own family of material solutions for PV modules, not just through light-trapping film, but in areas like our unique AR coating and backsheets - which today is enabling customers to get more energy from solar panels.

Same sun. More power.™