New solar cell could generate a high enough voltage to directly and independently recharge a lithium-ion battery…
Scientists at the University of Warwick, UK, collaborated with company Molecular Solar to develop the new organic solar cell, which could bring a breakthrough in portable electronic device charging on the go. The cell has an open circuit voltage of over 7V, delivering a maximum power over the 4.2V needed to power a lithium-ion battery.
Organic photovoltaic cells (OPV) can be manufactured cheaply, are lightweight, and can even be used on flexible devices – all ideal attributes for today’s portable devices. The new research has shown that these cells can be designed to deliver enough power to a lithium-ion battery even in partial shade, offering a greater range of operating conditions and taking a vital step toward integrating the technology with today’s electronic devices.
Professor Tim Jones explains, “A small lightweight solar charger no bigger than a credit card can be fitted to the battery of an e-book reader for example, and constantly top it up with power while you are reading it – even if you are sitting inside on the sofa.”
Other uses could include cameras and some low-power mobile phones, offering great potential for travelers and anyone who may not easily be able to access a wired power source to recharge their gadgets.
Professor Jones continued, “The next step is to extend this technology outside the laboratory to make cheap OPV chargers available on a commercial scale through Molecular Solar.”
Further details on the research can be found in the Advanced Energy Materials journal, in a paper titled ‘Ultra-high voltage multijunction organic solar cells for low-power electronic applications’.