New hybrid solar cell can genrate electricty from raindrops.
Polar panels are generally useless in rainy weather. But now a days they are not useless , they genrate electricity with the help of rain drops.Soochow University in China, places two transparent polymer layers on top of a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell. When raindrops fall on to the layers and then roll off, the friction generates a static electricity charge.
The key part of the system is a triboelectric nanogenerator or TENG, a device which creates electric charge from the friction of two materials rubbing together, as with static electricity – it’s all about the shifting of electrons.
While the idea of using TENGs like this isn’t completely new, the challenge has been to develop a system that wasn’t too complex or bulky. Here two polymer layers were used to form a TENG on top of a photovoltaic cell.
Using the imprints from standard DVDs – the same as you might use to watch Hollywood blockbusters at home – the researchers added grooves to one polymer to improve its energy-gathering efficiency.
In tests, the textured polymer layers acted as a mutual electrode for both the TENG and the underlying solar panel, conducting energy between the two devices when raindrops hit and bring the layers into contact.
Researchers hope to move their research beyond a proof of concept stage and begin to develop the technology into a viable method for generating electricity. These all-weather cells would provide a boost to solar cell technology which currently only works when there is ample sunlight. In climates or seasons that are dominated by clouds and rain, an all-weather solar panel could provide a clean form of energy that is not possible with existing technology.
Prof Keith Barnham, at Imperial College London, said the hybrid device gave an important advantage in making it more compact and efficient. But he said: “Wind power is clearly the most effective and complementary power source to PV – and it works equally well in the rain!”