Solar batteries are one of the newer products in solar technology. The first solar battery was patented by researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus (Ohio, United States) in 2014. This hybrid device is actually a combination of solar cell and battery in one.
Mesh solar collector allows the entry of air into the interior of the battery. There happens a special process of electron transfer between the battery electrode and the solar panel. Inside the battery, oxygen and light cause a variety of chemical reactions that allow the battery to charge. It can be recharged each time, when these chemical reactions occur. Some people call it “a breathing battery”, because it discharges when it “breathes air”, and it charges during the release of air from the battery.
Classic solar systems absorb the sun’s energy using solar panels, and then use an ordinary electric battery to store the energy. However, solar battery has integrated both functions of the solar system in a single device. The researchers believe that this battery can reduce the cost of renewable energy by 25 percent.
This innovation also solves a big problem in solar energy efficiency. Inside the ordinary electric batteries only about 80 percent of the electrons arrive from a solar cell in the external battery. It is a great loss of electrons and electrical energy. In the interior of the solar battery, it comes to conversion of light rays into electrons. In this way, almost 100% of the electrons are saved. Practically, this means that saving electricity is very high.
Classic solar cells are mainly produced of solid semiconductor collectors, and they would block the entry of air into the battery. This was the biggest challenge for researchers from Ohio, but they managed to solve it by designing a permeable mesh solar panel. The mesh solar panel consists of titanium gauze and rods of titanium dioxide. While the rods absorb sunlight, the air enters freely through the titanium gauze.
Another innovation in the design of a solar battery is the number of electrodes. This hybrid uses only three electrodes for its work (classic solar systems require four electrodes). The first electrode makes mesh solar panel. A thin layer of porous carbon is in the middle, and he makes the second electrode (carry electrons forth and back). Below this carbon layer, there is the lithium plate – third electrode.
The working principle of solar batteries is very specific. Here’s how it works:
- During charging, the sun’s rays reach the mesh solar collector and create electrons.
- Electrons cause decomposition of lithium peroxide into oxygen and lithium ions.
- Lithium ions are kept in the battery, and the oxygen is emitted into the air.
- An iodide additives transport electrons between the panel and the battery electrode.
- During discharging, solar battery uses oxygen to reproduce the lithium peroxide.
In comparison to ordinary batteries, solar battery does not use electricity for its charging, has a longer shelf life and doesn’t pollute the environment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have wide application as electric batteries. Many countries, especially the U.S., finance this technology to help researchers improve the performance of solar batteries with new materials.
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