Putting a solar cell on every device

In the solar domain there is ongoing research all the time to increase the efficiency on the one hand and to make the cells cheaper on the other. A third factor is to reduce the carbon footprint in production of solar cells.

Most solar cells are silicon based. A lesser-known solar material is Pervoskite which is a mineral of Calcium Titanate. When applied as a thin film this mineral behaves as a semiconductor which can produce over 20% efficiency as a solar cell and can be easily applied to almost any shape or size of a gadget by ink jet printing process.

Pervoskia Solar is a company in Switzerland specializing in this domain and can help to implant this technology into any gadget like wearables, sensors, IoT, etc.

I am reminded of a Casio calculator I possess since the past over a decade. It looks like this in Fig.1 below:

Fig.1: A calculator with inbuilt solar cell

The beauty about this calculator is that it’s working well in room light and even at night even though I never changed the battery whose life must have got over in 2 or 3 years. That is because it has a small in-built solar cell at the top right which assists the battery even if there is very little light. What a brilliant design! No battery charging or battery changing for over 10 years!

So now we can think of similar products made even cheaper with Pervoskite materials applied to the device.

NREL is a US government funded research organization which is doing excellent work on this technology development. You can check it out here https://www.nrel.gov/pv/facilities.html. One of the perovskites they are exploring is Methyl ammonium lead triiodide (CH3NH3)PbI3, or MAPbI3, (see Fig.2 below).

Fig.2: Methyl ammonium lead triiodide (CH3NH3)PbI3, or MAPbI3, is one of the perovskites NREL is exploring

That’s all in this newsletter; more next week.

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Arun Bhatia

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