Swedish and Chinese scientists have developed organic solar cells optimised to convert ambient indoor light to electricity. The power they produce is low, but is probably enough to feed the millions of products that the internet of things will bring online.
As the internet of things expands, it is expected that we will need to have millions of products online, both in public spaces and in homes. Many of these will be the multitude of sensors to detect and measure moisture, particle concentrations, temperature and other parameters. For this reason, the demand for small and cheap sources of renewable energy is increasing rapidly, in order to reduce the need for frequent and expensive battery replacements.
This is where organic solar cells come in. Not only are they flexible, cheap to manufacture and suitable for manufacture as large surfaces in a printing press, they have one further advantage: the light-absorbing layer consists of a mixture of donor and acceptor materials, which gives considerable flexibility in tuning the solar cells such that they are optimised for different spectra – for light of different wavelengths.
New combination of materials
Researchers in Beijing, China, led by Jianhui Hou, and Linköping, Sweden, led by Feng Gao, have now together developed a new combination of donor and acceptor materials, with a carefully determined composition, to be used as the active layer in an organic solar cell. The combination absorbs exactly the wavelengths of light that surround us in our living rooms, at the library and in the supermarket.
The researchers describe two variants of an organic solar cell in an article in Nature Energy, where one variant has an area of 1 cm2 and the other 4 cm2. The smaller solar cell was exposed to ambient light at an intensity of 1000 lux, and the researchers observed that as much as 26.1% of the energy of the light was converted to electricity. The organic solar cell delivered a high voltage of above 1 V for more than 1000 hours in ambient light that varied between 200 and 1000 lux. The larger solar cell still maintained an energy efficiency of 23%.
“This work indicates great promise for organic solar cells to be widely used in our daily life for powering the internet of things”, says Feng Gao, senior lecturer in the Division of Biomolecular and Organic Electronics at Linköping University.
”We are confident that the efficiency of organic solar cells will be further improved for ambient light applications in coming years, because there is still a large room for optimization of the materials used in this work”, Jianhui Hou, professor at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, underlines.
The result is a further advance in research within the field of organic solar cells. In the summer of 2018, for example, the scientists, together with colleagues from a number of other universities, published rules for the construction of efficient organic solar cells (see the link given below). The article collected 25 researchers from seven universities, and was published in Nature Materials. The research was led by Feng Gao. These rules have proven to be useful along the complete pathway to efficient solar cell for indoor use.
Spin off company
The Biomolecular and Organic Electronics research group at Linköping University, under the leadership of Olle Inganäs (now professor emeritus), has been for many years a world-leader in the field of organic solar cells. A few years ago, Olle Inganäs and his colleague Jonas Bergqvist, who is co-author of the articles in Nature Materials and Nature Energy, founded, and are now co-owners of a company, which focusses on commercialising solar cells for indoor use.
Learn more: Welcome indoors, solar cells
The Latest on: Indoor solar cells
via Google News
The Latest on: Indoor solar cells
- More efficient underwater PV cells with wide-band gap semiconductorson March 20, 2020 at 5:15 am
Maximum theoretical efficiency Crystalline solar cells based on narrow gap semiconductors have a maximum theoretical efficiency of 34%, which is the so-called Shockley-Queisser limit. Indoor solar ...
- Purple Solar Powered Saleon March 18, 2020 at 11:24 am
LED Powered Solar Color-Changing Decor Lamp Mobile Garden Lights Chime Wind Yard Yard Wind ... String Outdoor Power Fairy / Solar Garden Lamps Wedding LED Lights 100 200 Party LED Powered Solar 100 ...
- Solar cells shine indoors and power IoT deviceson March 16, 2020 at 8:33 am
An international research team has engineered a novel ambient light harvesting solar cell to power and connect the internet of things (IoT). The low maintenance device is designed to provide local ...
- Climate change is real and staring in our faces, but all’s not loston March 14, 2020 at 8:45 am
Smart building technology startup 75F offers a predictive building intelligence system by self-optimising solutions like HVAC, indoor air quality (IAQ ... flywheel energy storage vehicles, ...
- Public works expansion pits Minneapolis vs. environmental justice concerns of East Phillips neighborhoodon March 12, 2020 at 9:35 pm
Members of the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute hoped they could use 3 acres on the southwest corner of the former Roof Depot property to build affordable housing, a bicycle shop, markets and ...
- Is Indoor Agriculture the Future of Farming?on March 10, 2020 at 5:54 pm
The tradeoff: Indoor agriculture demands a staggering amount of energy ... They are exploring ways to have completely clean microgrids, but there are space constraints for the number of solar panels ...
- Huawei unveils sustainable wireless solutions for rural, indoor and household connectionon March 9, 2020 at 9:43 am
Power can be acquired from two built-in solar panels which, he noted, made the whole system very energy efficient ... paving the way for the evolution to the new Pro option. Widening indoor coverage ...
- Low-impact summer retreat boasts solar panels and a green roofon March 9, 2020 at 8:38 am
Several outdoor spaces, such as an open-air deck with a large dining table, further embed the home into its surroundings and promote indoor-outdoor living. Intended to be a summer home used from May ...
- Abu Dhabi turns to solar for future power needson March 8, 2020 at 7:21 am
With 3.2 million solar panels installed, it is the largest facility of its kind in the world ... Abu Dhabi has set targets for minimising water losses to 10%, reducing the intensity of indoor and ...
- New type of indoor solar cells for smart connected deviceson March 4, 2020 at 9:02 am
In a new article in Chemical Science, researchers from Uppsala University present a new type of dye-sensitised solar cells that harvest light from indoor lamps. The Internet of Things, or IoT ...
via Bing News