Instead, Sanders and Sarkar want to produce clothes from cotton and linen that are safe and strong enough to handle the elements. According to the university, the group was able to modify natural materials to make them more durable. From there, they incorporated flexible solar panels within the apparel.
Their goal with these greener clothes is ultimately to make solar clothing that's not only comfortable and cool looking but also highly functional and easy to clean. Definitely an admirable idea, but one that I can see will also prove fairly challenging to execute - especially if they want it to be affordable.
With help from a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the CSU group has already made several prototype jackets and a vest. This weekend, that apparel will go on display at the EPA's National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C. The team has also entered a sustainable design competition there, competing with entries from across the nation. Winning means a shot at taking their solar clothing to the market.
Photo: Colorado State University student Anna Rieder incorporates solar panels into a winter jacket. Credit: Colorado State University Creative Services.