Last week Ohio State University published new research in the journal Nature Communications demonstrating a new solar battery. The solar battery is able to produce and store electricity from the sun. The researchers, led by Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, built on previous research related to an air-powered battery developed by Wu and doctoral student Xiaodi Ren.
The hybrid device uses a mesh-based photovoltaic panel, which allows air to enter the battery. It also uses a special process to transfer electrons between the PV panel and the battery’s electrode. Light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery, according to OSU.
“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”
Wu and his students anticipate that the device could reduce the costs of solar by 25 percent while increasing the efficiency of solar energy storage. The university said that only 80 percent of electrons emitted from a solar cell make it into a battery. However, since sunlight is converted into electricity in the battery, nearly 100 percent of the electrons are saved.
The new, patent-pending device creates electrons the way a conventional solar panel does by absorbing the sunlight via a dye-sensitized solar cell. However, “Inside the device electrons are involved in the chemical decomposition of lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions are stored in the battery as lithium metal after capturing the electrons,” OSU said. “When the battery discharges, it chemically consumes oxygen from the air to re-form the lithium peroxide.”Tweet