Scientists at Ohio State University developed world's first rechargeable solar battery

Oct 6, 2014 13:01 IST

Scientists at Ohio State University, US developed the world’s first rechargeable solar battery. The study related to this was published in the Journal Nature Communications on 3 October 2014.

The developed solar battery is in fact a hybrid device that is party rechargeable battery and part solar cell. This battery unlike other batteries relies predominantly on oxygen from air and sunlight which flows in through a meshed solar panel fitted inside it.

Main components of the solar battery

The solar battery comprises of three electrodes instead of four electrodes which normally is required to connect a solar cell to a battery.

The first electrode is meshed solar panel is like a flexible fabric made of titanium gauze upon which vertical rods of titanium oxide like blades of grass are placed. The second electrode is thin sheet of carbon and the third electrode is a lithium plate.

Between the electrodes, a layer of iodide electrolyte is sandwiched that carries electrons, and transports them between the battery electrode and the mesh solar panel.

How the solar battery works

First the mesh solar panel receives the oxygen from air and sunlight wherein the titanium gauze enables the air to pass through while the rods capture the sunlight.

During charging, as the light hits the mesh solar panel, it creates electrons which chemically decompose lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. Thereupon, the oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions that carry the charged electrons get stored in the battery as lithium metal.

Once the battery begins to discharge, it chemically consumes oxygen from the air to re-form the lithium peroxide and gives off energy used to power and mobile device.

In short, the battery uses air as a catalyst akin to the processes of energy conversion. In the words of Yiying Wu, the lead researcher of the study, “Basically it's a breathing battery. It breathes in air when it discharges, and breathes out when it charges."

The benefits of Solar battery

  • It could solar energy more affordable and opens the door for its widespread use as a sustainable power source.
  • It would lower the cost of storing and using solar energy by about 25 percent.
  • It could also solve a longstanding problem in solar energy efficiency by eliminating the loss of electricity. The loss of electricity normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery.
  • Typically, only 80 per cent 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 per cent of the electrons are saved.

Is this article important for exams ? Yes27 People Agreed

DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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