Start-up contest finalists talk about improving solar efficiency and using artificial intelligence to analyse substances


The members of the EcoSun start-up team have developed a comprehensive system that monitors solar activity, significantly increases the efficiency of solar panels and increases the amount of electrical energy generated several times over. In order to increase the concentration of light and distribute it over the entire surface of the device, the participants added a Fresnel lens to the existing device, a solar tracker.

Photo provided by the EcoSun project participants
Photo provided by the EcoSun project participants

The solar tracker itself is already a fairly efficient mechanism for absorbing large amounts of light. The system unfolds the panels according to the movement of the sun − so that it is always perpendicular to the modules, thus generating about 30% to 40% more electricity. However, if the solar panels are at an extreme angle, much of the energy will be lost.

The existing systems are not efficient enough: they produce little electricity and the panels take up a lot of space. We decided to modify them and add something like a magnifying glass to increase efficiency. In laboratory setting, our prototype showed that the use of the lens increased electricity production by 2.8 times.

Andrei Kozyrenko, Captain of the EcoSun team

In addition to increased energy from sunlight, other advantages of the EcoSun development are: a short payback period compared to other photovoltaic cells; space saving due to the use of fewer solar panels; increased efficiency; the possibility of operation during the winter season; and reduced cost of equipment installation.

The EcoSun team consists of students from Omsk State Transport University. Captain Andrei Kozyrenko is responsible for concept formation, project development, and distribution of responsibilities. Artem Budaev manages the business side, calculates risks and looks for opportunities for optimal solutions. Kairat Kalin and Nikita Shishkin liaise with companies and do marketing research. According to Andrei Kozyrenko, the tasks are divided according to the level of complexity and workload of each of the participants.

The guys set their future goals as refining the model, designing and producing a finished device that will meet the demands of most consumers. The team also plans to enter the stock market, conclude agreements with domestic material suppliers, scale up production of the developed system and actively engage in sales.

Another team, a finalist in the SPbU Start-up contest of innovative projects, presented software with artificial intelligence technology required for correct processing of data from an online chromatograph. The development solves the problem of manual analysis of information and increases the accuracy of diagnostics. It also reduces the time needed to recognise and interpret data.

Using artificial intelligence modules, our programme determines the condition of power transformers. Special algorithms recognise anomalies and predict possible problems with the equipment. Operators and maintenance personnel can see this and carry out the required maintenance.

Shamil Rakhmankulov, Captain of the team

According to the captain of team, the main difference between their development and foreign analogues is the integration of artificial intelligence into the decision-making module. Additionally, the software has a high diagnostic accuracy for timely prevention of possible problems and reduction of emergency risks, a user-friendly interface and a user-friendly format.

Photo provided by the ESiS project participants
Photo provided by the ESiS project participants

Read the following articles in the series “SPbU Start-up − 2023” that will feature other finalist teams and innovative projects in: Information Technology; Artificial Intelligence; Agriculture; and other fields.

Shamil Rakhmankulov believes that another benefit of the project is the automation of the data collection process, which reduces the time needed to process the results of chromatographic analysis. Also, the software that is being developed by the team makes it possible to increase the level of reliability and efficiency of the systems and reduce operational risks.

The team consists of only three people who are students of Kazan State Power Engineering University, but this does not prevent the participants from working effectively and achieving results. Ainaz Gizatullin is responsible for technical support, installation, setup and integration of the software with electrical equipment. Shamil Rakhmankulov, Captain of the team, specialises in the development of artificial intelligence models and the software itself. Ilia Solomonov is in charge of interpreting the analysis results.

The participants are now testing the development on a real object (TRL-7) and plan to extend the functionality of the software and optimise its performance. The team also plans to create a product website to promote the project and attract potential customers.


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