Researchers at the Soochow University of China have recently forged a technology that could be one of the most useful breakthroughs in the energy conservation sector. A device made up of a Nano-generator attached to a silicon solar cell could harness sunlight to store energy on a bright day, and use the mechanical energy of rain drops to extract energy during cloudy conditions. The new technology could be an important advancement towards energy conservation in a scenario of uncertain weather conditions. Furthermore, if the technology is executed properly, it could make up for the shortfalls of entirely depending on renewable sources of energy.
Working of Device
The solar energy is harnessed with the help of a silicon solar cell attached to the device, and the mechanical energy of falling raindrops is converted into electricity by a triboelectric Nano-generator (TENG). A mutual electrode is used to integrate the two components of the device, thus, overcoming the shortfalls of using an extra wire. The output of the device is also enhanced with the use of a mutual electrode that alleviates functional layers. Thee TENG acts as a water-resistant barrier that prevents water penetration into the silicon. Furthermore, the electrode is textured to help in eliminating unwanted reflection, and establishing contact between the falling rain drops and the TENG.
Plan for the Future
Although the TENG and solar cell cannot function simultaneously, the researchers believe that such an arrangement would rarely be required. They also plan to fabricate a clothing that could harness sunshine and raindrops to produce electricity.