Secondary batteries such ad lithium-ion ones need to be recharged once the stored energy is exhausted. In an effort to decrease the dependency on fossil fuels, scientists have been seeking sustainable ways to recharge secondary batteries.
In a recent development, a graduate student at TIFR Hyderabad and a team have put together a close-packed lithium ion battery with photosensitive matter that can be charged directly with solar energy.
Meanwhile, the initial efforts to direct solar energy for the recharge of batteries involved use of photovoltaic cells as separate entities. Using photovoltaic cells, solar energy is converted into electrical energy which is eventually stored as chemical energy in batteries. The stored energy is used to power electronic devices. The transfer of energy from one component to the other results in loss of some energy.
In fact, to prevent energy loss, this involved a shift toward exploring the use of photosensitive parts inside a battery. The advancement in integrating photosensitive components within a battery to result in the formation of improved compactness batteries has been substantial.
While existing solar batteries display improved design, they still have some drawbacks. Some disadvantages associated with various types of solar batteries are: Reduced ability to trap adequate solar energy, use of organic electrolyte that may cause corrosion of photosensitive organic parts inside a battery, and side products that are formed that hinder sustained performance of a battery in the long term.
For the study, the research associates sought to explore new photosensitive materials which can also include lithium and construct a solar battery that would be free of leak and function efficiently in ambient conditions.
Solar batteries that have two electrodes usually contain a photosensitive dye in one of the electrodes physically mixed with stabilizing components that helps to drive the flow of electrons through the battery.