The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: Oct 28, 2015
Hybrid solar cell converts both light and heat from sun?s rays into electricity (w/video)
(Nanowerk News) Scientists have developed a new hybrid, solar-energy system that harnesses the full spectrum of the sunís radiation by pairing a photovoltaic cell with polymer films. The films convert the light that goes unused by the solar cell into heat and then converts the heat into electricity.
Solar cells today are getting better at converting sunlight to electricity, but commercial panels still harvest only part of the radiation theyíre exposed to. Scientists are working to change this using various methods. One approach is to hybridize solar cells with different materials to capture more of the sunís energy. Eunkyoung Kim and colleagues turned to a clear, conductive polymer known as PEDOT to try to accomplish this.
The researchers layered a dye-sensitized solar cell on top of a PEDOT film, which heats up in response to light. Below that, they added a pyroelectric thin film and a thermoelectric device, both of which convert heat into electricity. The efficiency of all components working together was more than 20 percent higher than the solar cell alone. With that boost, the system could operate an LED lamp and an electrochromic display.