Integrating the function of a solar power panel that captures light, and a cheap battery that stores energy into one hybrid device, researchers say the have successfully invented the world’s first solar energy battery...
Solar energy is gettin cheaper and chaper, but according to the creators of the tech in question, it can slash prices down by another 25 percent.
The key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel that 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 state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy," said Yiying Wu, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The Ohio State University in the US, adding that "We have 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% 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% of the electrons are saved," the researchers said.
The research is published in Nature Communications and reminds us about a recent blog we've made about "Within 10 year every SolarCity system will come with a Tesla battery" (sorry guys, this links to a BG version of this blog, but Google will help you to translate it). In this piece we are talking about the man behing SolarCity (Elon Musk's cousin), who says, well, what the link text says.
So technolgy is moving ahead very fast and this is here is another achievement which gets us closer to a tendency we've discussed in another blog – home solar panel/battery combo may render big power plants inefficient (well, this one's in BG as well – seems like we need to put some efforts into the other part ot the blog :)