Graphene to create Solar Energy from Raindrops!

Graphene to create Solar Energy from Raindrops!

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Inspired by the moths’ eye structure, a team at the Advanced Technology Institute in University of Surrey have created a one-atom thick flexible graphene sheet which can generate electricity from heat and light it absorbs.  They have done this using the nanotexturing technology.  Graphene is an amazing material – a million times thinner than human hair, but the strongest material known to man – 200 times stronger than steel!  We had talked about earlier about how Graphene-Human Brain interface could help the scientists harness brain and nervous system in a big way!

What is Graphene

What is Graphene (courtesy: CNN)

Using this advancement, a team of scientists in Qindao, China comprising Prof. Qunwei Tang, Xiaopeng Wang, Prof. Peizhi Yang, and Dr. Benlin He have used this graphene sheet to solve a major issue with the Solar Cell electricity generation – the lack of ideal weather to generate electricity.

Graphene to create Solar Energy from Raindrops #Solarenergy #science Click To Tweet

They used a coat of this one-atom thick graphene on their solar cells to create electricity even from rain drops.  So, Graphene, which is a good conductor as well, binds its own electrons with the positively charged ions from water.  The salt in the rain separates into ions (ammonium, calcium, and sodium) paving the way for graphene and water to create energy.  The Angewandte Chemie journal discusses this new solar cell technology:

The new solar cell can be excited by incident light on sunny days and raindrops on rainy days, yielding an optimal solar-to-electric conversion efficiency of 6.53?% under AM 1.5 irradiation and current over microamps as well as a voltage of hundreds of microvolts by simulated raindrops. The formation of p-electron|cation electrical double-layer pseudocapacitors at graphene/raindrop interface is contributable to current and voltage outputs at switchable charging–discharging process. The new concept can guide the design of advanced all-weather solar cells.

Make in India thrust and Solar energy

Make in India thrust and Solar energy

India, which has bet big on solar energy and has made huge investments to actually bring the solar energy costs within 15% of coal energy (and might take it to 10% cheaper than coal by 2020 even by conservative estimates by KPMG!!), and is being touted as the Solar energy super power may benefit from using this technology used by the Chinese scientists.  For most of India has either high rains (North East) or high sun (Western desert).  The use of graphene sheets can enhance the use of solar cells manifold.

Also Read:  Graphene - Brain Interface Could Help Scientists Control and Harness Brain and Nervous in a Big Way!

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