Suzhou University utilizes the principle of frictional electrification to allow solar panels to operate in rainy weather

Solar energy

Solar energy, as the name suggests, is the conversion of sunlight and heat into energy. It must operate in the presence of sunlight. However, Nanoscience and Technology Institute of Soochow University in China broke this restriction and developed a new type of hybrid solar panel that combines solar panels and nano friction generators (TENGs) to allow solar panels to generate electricity on both sunny and rainy days.

Nano Friction Generators (TENGs) are based on the theory of frictional electrification, which allows two different objects to rub against each other, allowing the charge to transfer energy and form a voltage. Since frictional energy is used for conductors and insulators, common items in life are clothing. Both tires and paper can be used as electrification materials.

Therefore, the team wanted to use the frictional kinetic energy between raindrops and solar energy to generate electricity and further design a better energy harvesting system. In the past, there were studies that wanted to make good use of rain friction, but the equipment manufactured was often complicated and bulky.

Researchers at the University of Suzhou installed two transparent polymers on a solar panel, which were polydimethylsiloxane and conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS. The upper polydimethylsiloxane is one of friction electrification materials. The lower PEDOT:PSS polymer layer is the common electrode of the solar panel and the nano friction generator. This polymer can not only reduce the light reflection, but also Increase power generation efficiency.

When it starts to rain, the nano-friction generator will start to operate. The PEDOT:PSS material will be responsible for the transmission of electricity to the solar panels. The two layers of polymer are all made of transparent material and can still obtain energy from sunlight when it is sunny.

According to the data, the current short-circuit current of the device is 33nA, and the open-circuit voltage is 2.14V. Although the value is not high, it proves that this concept can be actually operated and can be continuously studied. The team stated that the new equipment has more advantages than the previous TENGs solar panels, which is simple in design, smaller in size, and easier to manufacture. The study has been published in the journal ACS Nano.

source : EnergyTrend

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