Energy-generating textiles: Companies, universities, and startups leading the research

The surge in wearable technology has generated a substantial demand for fabrics seamlessly integrating sensors, displays, and energy-harvesting mechanisms. As a result, the Energy textile industry has risen to meet this demand, enabling the creation of intelligent clothing and accessories. 

The convenience of monitoring health and delivering real-time information and the unique ability to charge electronic devices on the go, all while managing body temperature as desired, has made energy textiles an appealing option for today’s consumers. Evidently, textile and fashion industry giants like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren are actively researching in the domain. Not only that, tech giants like Samsung, IBM, and Intel seem to be expanding into the energy textile industry, making the best of their technological research.

From sustainable and eco-friendly fibers to innovative smart clothing, our 2023 Textile Industry Trend report offers a comprehensive overview of the diverse landscape of textile innovations. Don’t miss out – download the report now!

However, if you’re only interested in the overview of Energy textile trends, this article discusses the recent breakthrough developments and the entities driving the research in the energy-generating textile industry. 

Where is the Energy textile industry heading?

NTU researchers create a fabric that generates electrical energy from the body 

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) have successfully developed a groundbreaking fabric that converts energy from body movements into electrical power. 

The research revealed that various fabric manipulations, including washing, folding, and crumpling, had no negative impact on its performance. Impressively, the fabric maintained a stable electrical output for five months, showcasing its immense potential as a smart textile and a reliable wearable power source.

The prototype fabric, PVDF-HPF, utilizes a polymer that generates an electrical charge when stretched. This unique fabric generates electricity in two ways: first, through piezoelectricity when compressed or squashed, and secondly, through the triboelectric effect when it encounters friction with other materials like skin or rubber gloves. The fabric demonstrated an impressive output of 2.34 watts per square meter, making it suitable for powering small electronic devices like LEDs and commercial capacitors.

Indian universities collaborate on solar cell-based nanofibers

Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science and KCG College of Technology collaborated to develop flexible and durable solar cell-based nanofibers for smart nanotextiles. 

The process involved preparing a carbon fiber yarn layer through electrospinning for enhanced durability. A thin 2D-MX2 layer, acting as a photoactive semiconductor (M represents molybdenum, tungsten, and X represents sulfur, tellurium, and selenium), was applied to the carbon fiber yarns using a chemical vapor deposition process, ensuring flexibility.

To further improve the crystalline quality and electrical properties, the coated carbon fiber yarns underwent annealing at 750℃. A graphene layer was then deposited on the photoactive 2D-MX2 using chemical vapor deposition, and a protective capsule was applied to safeguard the layers. The thickness of the resulting solar cell-integrated nanofibers, measured in hundreds of microns, makes them suitable for weaving textiles and garments.

Who is working in Energy Textile?

Entities working on Energy Textiles

Significant Collaborations in Energy Textile

Tommy Hilfiger and Pvilion introduce solar-powered jackets

Tommy Hilfiger, the US-based apparel dealer, collaborated with a solar structure designer and producer, Pvilion, to create a limited edition range of solar-powered jackets. These jackets have a space at the back designed for attaching around 7 to 10 removable solar panels. These patented flexible solar panels (US11128254B2) harness sunlight and generate power to charge various smart devices, including mobile phones and tablets. 

Teijin and Murata create energy-generating yarn

Teijin Frontier, a textile manufacturing firm based in the US, partnered with Murata, a Japanese electronic component manufacturer, to conduct research on a yarn with the potential to generate piezoelectric filament using poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). The two companies even filed the patent EP4071284A1 together for their innovation.

Are Intel, IBM, and Samsung planning to expand into Energy Textiles?

During our research, we discovered that several non-core companies were actively interested in developing Energy Textiles. Their innovations highlighted piezoelectric and photovoltaic effects for their textile advancements. 

Intel, for example, filed a patent US10270271B2, discussing a fabric roll containing multiple rectennas arranged in an array. These rectennas convert electromagnetic energy into DC electricity.IBM also filed a patent, US10370790B2, involving carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as photovoltaic cells in textile products. Whereas Samsung’s patent US9876443B2 focuses on their research into using metal electrodes in textile products that can generate electricity through friction (triboelectric effect).


We believe that energy textiles hold immense promise for revolutionizing energy generation and utilization within the textile industry. As companies, researchers, and government entities invest in these smart textiles, the industry will soon see a transformative shift toward a more sustainable and energy-efficient future.

But that’s not all – our comprehensive Textile Industry Trend report provides valuable insights into other upcoming trends that will impact the textile industry in the coming years. 

Don’t miss out! Fill out the form below and download the report now to stay ahead in this dynamic and evolving textile industry landscape.

Authored By: AmbujNavjit, and Sushant, Patent Intelligence

Edited By: Ridhima, Marketing

Also Read: 5 trends in the textile industry steering a sustainable and tech-driven tomorrow

Showing 2 comments
  • Jumac Manufacturing

    Day by day, as we are advancing more into technological developments, it was very refreshing to read about the entities driving the research in the energy-generating textile industry. Indeed, it is true the textile industry will soon see a seismic shift towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient future as businesses, researchers, and governmental organisations invest in these smart textiles. Great job on the article, keep up the good work!

  • Astyork

    Credit on the illuminating piece about “Energy Material”! Your blog splendidly investigates the convergence of materials and energy, offering a new point of view. It’s a keen read for those enthusiastic about state of the art advancements.

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