Innovation comes in different shapes and sizes. Praxis Labs has engineered innovation into just about any structure.
Praxis Labs has reimagined solar technology to offer a total solar reinforcement solution. It fully integrates solar solutions for any structure and application, making solar cells light, flexible, durable and damage resistant for aviation, marine, vehicles, defence, and more applications.
The company developed Structural Solar (SS), a transformative solar integration technology that allows objects to collect their own energy from the sun, overcoming the typical impediments of solar such as added weight and fragility.
INNOVATION IN TRANSFORMATION
Brother and sister Cameron and Katie Donaldson joined forces to change how solar technology is used. Praxis Labs is a technology and manufacturing company specialising in using composites to harvest energy from the sun for air, land and sea applications.
“The key to commercially viable solar solutions is not purely in the development of suitable solar technologies, but in how the solar cells are incorporated into structures,” Cameron Donaldson, founder and director of innovation and manufacturing, shares his inspiration for establishing Praxis Labs.
Cameron was initially trained as a shipwright and had an extensive background in advanced composite manufacturing. He invented Praxis Labs’ Structural Solar (SS) technology as a further iteration generated from another of his inventions in the marine industry. The company was formed in 2016, and Katie joined in 2018 following a career in the architecture industry. Together they refined Praxis Labs’ processes to structurally integrate solar chemistry into a shaped composite component that is aerodynamically efficient and waterproof.
INNOVATION IN INTEGRATION
Current solar technology comes with inherent problems: added weight and fragility. Traditional solar panels are designed to protect fragile solar cells, not for adaptive or dynamic integration into objects and surfaces. This significantly limits traditional solar technology’s ability to enhance a product’s functionality, design and performance.
With these existing shortcomings of solar technology, it was ripe for disruption. Cameron deduced that it isn’t the weight/properties of the photovoltaic (PV) cells; it is the weight/properties of the finished product that is important. If normal PV cells can be fully integrated inside a structure, their weight could be offset and the PV cells can be made as tough as the structure itself. Solar can be integrated into objects.
“We don’t make solar cells; we integrate solar cells inside other objects,” Cameron shares. “While other solar products depend on advances in solar technologies and the development of new cell chemistries, Praxis’ Structural Solar technology can work with any cell technology right now – we don’t need to wait for solar technology to advance or mature.
“The key to commercially viable solar solutions is not purely in the development of suitable solar technologies, but in how the solar cells are incorporated into structures.”
INNOVATION IN APPLICATION
Structural Solar is an innovative technology. This transforms PV cells into incredibly robust structures while still being extremely lightweight, utilising the inherent and expansive properties of composite technologies. Solar is part and parcel of the structure.
“Unfortunately, many solar users have become accustomed to inferior, brittle, heavy solar products or prohibitive price points,” Katie Donaldson, Partner and Managing Director, explains. “Our Structural Solar solution overcomes these impediments and as has been seen from client engagement that Structural Solar solves the issues of multiple other solar technologies with a single technology at an accessible price for end users. Structural Solar can be simultaneously light, robust, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing: characteristics not seen in other single solar technologies.”
This technology has been recognized as innovative beyond its industry. In 2016, Cameron won the Australian eChallenge, an entrepreneurial programme run by the University of Adelaide. In 2019, he was named one of InDaily’s ’40 under 40’ and won the award Inspiring Disruptor. Katie also won the Emerging Industries award in 2022’s InDaily ’40 under 40’ awards.
Praxis Labs have delivered defence, air, land, and ocean applications. Structural Solar is an ideal solution for products with critical weight, aerodynamics and strength. Its technology has been used in small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for air defence, protected mobility vehicle (PMV, a Bushmaster vehicle) in land defence systems, and unmanned surface vessels (USV) in sea defence applications, as well as commercial applications.
Praxis Labs has designed a true solar solution to start building a solar world. The technology is ready. Praxis Labs is ready to take Adelaide and Australia to the world.