Image credit: Yiying Wu, Ohio State University
By Elizabeth Palermo
A new kind of solar cell could store electrical energy without any help from traditional batteries, according to a new study.
Researchers at Ohio State University, in Columbus, have developed what they’re calling the world’s first solar battery — a hybrid device that combines the energy-capturing abilities of a solar cell with the energy-storing capabilities of a battery.
The new cell could lower the cost of harvesting renewable energy from the sun by as much as 25 percent, according to the researchers.
The key to the device’s success is a mesh solar panel that allows both sunlight and air to enter the cell. This porous material represents a departure from the solid semiconductor materials typically used to make solar cells. Allowing both light and oxygen into the cell enables the chemical reactions that typically occur inside a battery to occur within the solar cell itself.
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