Batteries included a solar cell that stores its own power

Batteries included a solar cell that stores its own power

Researchers, report that they've succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device in Nature Communications journal.
Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.

The invention will help tame the costs of renewable energy. The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy. They integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.
The invention also solves a longstanding problem in solar energy efficiency, by eliminating the loss of electricity that normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery. Typically, only 80 percent of electrons emerging from a solar cell make it into a battery. With this new design, light is converted to electrons inside the battery, so nearly 100 percent of the electrons are saved.

They invented a high-efficiency air-powered battery that discharges by chemically reacting potassium with oxygen. "Basically, it's a breathing battery," Wu said. "It breathes in air when it discharges, and breathes out when it charges." Air passes freely through the gauze while the rods capture sunlight. Normally, connecting a solar cell to a battery would require the use of four electrodes, the researchers explained. Their hybrid design uses only three.
 Source: science daily (prepared by science and technology information center)



06-10-2014 10:35 AM