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Solar Panels That Generate Power From Raindrops

by onApril 11, 2016
 

When it starts to rain, solar panels tend to have a bad time. Rain means no sun; which in turn means no energy production. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to harness the power of rain and convert it into electricity? Well a team of scientists have done just that by developing a solar cell that is able to harness energy from raindrops.

By creating a graphene layer only an atom thick, water that hits it will actually stick and create a “natural capacitor”. The difference in energy between the graphene’s electrons and the water’s ions produces electricity.

All-weather solar cells are promising in solving the energy crisis. A flexible solar cell is presented that is triggered by combining an electron-enriched graphene electrode with a dye-sensitized solar cell. 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 % 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. – Publication Abstract

Solar Panels In Storm

Currently, the technology isn’t all that efficient. It’s only able to convert 6.5 percent of the energy it receives. As a comparison, a standard solar panel converts around 22 percent of what it receives. Still, it’s incredibly impressive. Once tweaked and perfected, these Chinese scientists will have a game changing invention on their hands! Electricity from rain…it sounds like science fiction.

References: Original Publication – Engadget

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