Scientists come up with indoor solar cells capable of generating electricity from home lighting
In a breakthrough development, researchers from China and Sweden have come up with a new type of organic solar cell that can generate electricity from ambient indoor lighting. This is great news for the world as our demand for small, inexpensive sources of renewable energy is bound to increase 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. Therefore, these organic solar cells are a great way to reduce the need for frequent and expensive battery replacements.
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 1,000 hours in ambient light that varied between 200 and 1000 lux. The larger solar cell still maintained an energy efficiency of 23%.