Imagine a solar panel that generates energy not just from the sun, but also from the rain that hits it.
Scientists have combined an electron-enriched graphene electrode with a regular solar cell in order to create just that.
Researchers say the all-weather solar cells are "promising in solving the energy crisis". The study explains:
The new solar cell can be excited by incident light on sunny days and raindrops on rainy days, yielding an optimal solar-to-electric conversion efficiency of 6.53 per cent under AM 1.5 irradiation and current over microamps as well as a voltage of hundreds of microvolts by simulated raindrops.
The formation of π-electron|cation electrical double-layer pseudocapacitors at graphene/raindrop interface is contributable to current and voltage outputs at switchable charging–discharging process. The new concept can guide the design of advanced all-weather solar cells.
Because raindrops contain salts that split into positive and negative ions, graphene sheets can be used to bind the positive ions, creating a pseudocapacitor which generates electricity thorough simple chemical reaction.
The project is still very much in the early stages, but the researchers are excited by the progress.
Giz UK is on the floor at MWC in Barcelona! We're going to have plenty of coverage coming in over the next few days, and you can catch up on it all here.
Gizmodo Australia is gobbling up the news in a different timezone, so check them out if you need another Giz fix.