Graphene Allows This New Solar Panel To Generate Power From Raindrops, Too


Solar panels are great, allowing you to generate electricity just by keeping it out in the sun. Problem is, the sun isn’t always out, with clouds and rain replacing it for a good part of each year. A new Graphene-Coated Solar Panel overcomes this limitation by using raindrops that come in contact with its surface to generate electricity.

Developed by a team of scientists from Qingdao, China, the new solar cell prototype will generate power from sunlight like the panels we see in wide use today. Unlike them, it has a single, atom-thick layer of graphene across its surface, which allows it to harness raindrops into usable power.

The Graphene-Coated Solar Panel uses conventional solar cell technology when producing energy using sunlight, so it works much like the solar panels laid out across roofs in many homes and industrial facilities. With the sun tucked away behind the clouds on rainy days, however, the graphene coating goes to work, separating the ammonium, calcium, and sodium ions in the rain from the water. These ions cling to the electrons in the graphene, forming a dual-layer pseudo-capacitor system that produces electricity from the difference in potential between each layer.

While the team has been able to show the system to work, it’s not likely we’re seeing these solar panels come out soon. They are, for all intents and purposes, quite inefficient, functioning at a mere 6.5 percent efficiency in optimal solar conditions – a far cry from the 20 percent efficiency of today’s high-end solar panels. Still, it’s a good start for a promising technology.

You can read from the full research from the link below.

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One Response

  1. Thomas

    Solar technology often gets criticism from people who complain by saying stuff such as “ so what you going to do when there is no sun?” Yeah, many people don’t understand how modern solar cells can store energy and be used, even when there is no sunlight. This Graphene solar panel is a huge-step forward. It doesn’t store the energy like a lot of other cells do, but instead generates further energy using new technologies. This is the future people, like it or hate it. I seriously don’t understand the hate some people have for solar technologies. Yes this system by its self is not very efficient, but if you combine thsi with a solar panel set-up that can store generated energy for use when the sun goes down, then you get an ever more efficient solar system.

    This is just the most current stepping stone on our way to eradicating coal and fossil fuels. The oil industry will stay in business for the foreseeable future because of heavy industrial use, but for residential technologies, the price has come down enough that we are rapidly on a path to having more solar panels on homes everywhere.


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