A Battery That Charges In Sunlight Within Seconds!

By Aaryaa Padhyegurjar

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A renewable and rechargeable battery prototype created by the University of Surrey might extend the energy life of future smartwatches and other wearables by tens of minutes with just thirty seconds of sunshine.

Schematics of the (a) device configuration and (b) working principle of the integrated flexible photo-rechargeable system. Credit: Energy Storage Materials (2022).

The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) in Surrey has shown how its innovative photo-rechargeable technology, which combines perovskite solar cells and zinc-ion batteries, could enable wearables to reactivate without the need for a plug.

Jinxin Bi, a Ph.D. candidate at ATI and the first author of the paper, says that “this technology provides a promising strategy for efficient use of clean energy and enables wearable electronics to be operated continuously without plug-in charging. Our prototype could represent a step forward to how we interact with wearables and other internet-of-things devices, such as remote real-time health monitors.”

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The elegant and well-matched structural design between the integrated battery and solar cell makes Surrey’s environmentally friendly, photo-rechargeable system stand out because it enables it to demonstrate high energy and volume density comparable to cutting-edge microbatteries and super capacitors.

Dr. Wei Zhang, project co-lead and expert in perovskite solar cells from the ATI, says that “this project is an example of how the University of Surrey is dedicated to producing research and innovation that equips humanity with the knowledge, tools and technologies to help us live better and more sustainable lives.”

Dr. Yunlong Zhao, project co-lead and expert in batteries for wearables and implantables from the ATI, says that “the unique features in our ultrafast photo-rechargeable system could promote wide applications in self-powered wearable internet-of-things, autonomous power systems and emergency electronics. In addition, it will broaden the perception and insight of designing the next generation of miniaturized flexible photo-rechargeable systems.”

The research titled “A Highly integrated flexible photo-rechargeable system based on stable ultrahigh-rate quasi-solid-state zinc-ion micro-batteries and perovskite solar cells” was published in Energy Storage Materials. Click here to have a look.


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