"a patent-pending hybrid device ..."
"... that combines a solar cell with a rechargeable battery for the first time"
Wow, never seen one of those before.
Scientists have cooked up a patent-pending hybrid device that combines a solar cell with a rechargeable battery for the very first time. The solar battery was invented by boffins at the Ohio State University, who used a titanium gauze permeable mesh solar panel, which they say was key to the success of the entire US department …
Not necessarily, it's like inventing a rubber magnet and saying this will allow tires and electric motors to be combined instead of separate so it will be more efficient.
It doesn't say what the capacity is but it does so the life of the battery is comparable to other rechargeable, which is usually a lot less than the life of solar panels.
So this breakthrough gives you no way to tune the storage capacity for the application and you get to throw away the whole system in a year when the battery capacity has dropped.
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"Shame about all the land area used though."
I wonder how much area there is just using roof spaces? Would that be as economical given that smaller arrays means many more inverters?
On the other hand, is this actually useful in large(ish) scale if the life is only "hoped" to be as long as a current rechargable batteries? A couple thousand cycles doesn't sound very long.
It's a clever idea and sounds very efficient but the life-span indicates it's use in niche applications such as remote sensing/monitoring.
How do they control the tendency of lithium to spontaneously ignite when exposed to the oxygen?
I know it is combining with oxygen while recharging but normally the combining with oxygen bit is almost explosive.
Exposing lithium to air can be quite interesting if you are a pyromaniac or a terrorist (or me) there must be a mechanism to regulate the rate of 'charge' and to stop the battery overheating during recharging.
Anyone who has watched Bear Grylls will have seen him start a fire with his phone battery.
Incidentally that is the main potential problem with the new bendyphone, if the battery is ruptured, a pocket is not a good place to keep it.
Air breathing, or metal air batteries based on lithium are still very much a work in progress. The problem with building the battery in to the solar cell is that the battery temperature will fluctuate widely due to being out in the sun and the cold nights. This makes engineering the battery more expensive. Plus as already pointed out batteries don't last anywhere near as long as a solid state PV. It would nice to hear what their panels efficiency with regards to photoconversion is.
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"The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." --- Carl Sagan
It's a battery dude. A battery that you recharge by leaving it out in the open during the day time. I dunno about you, but I keep my batteries in a little drawer. I guess I'd keep these solar powered batteries on my window sill. Doesn't seem like all that much land area to me.
And you might want to actually do a bit of research before parading your ignorance. http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm lists PV as 40% more expensive than nuclear.
I don't suppose you've ever wondered why nuclear only provides 20% of our electricity if its so cheap? Imagine a power plant that takes 10 years to build, and, buy the time you get it built, competing forms of electricity have dropped in price by a factor of 2. And you need to run that power plant for the next 40 years to recoup your costs, and during that 40 years, you're expecting competing forms of electricity to drop in price by a couple more factors of 2. That's the situation that nuclear is in compared to wind and solar.
Conventional Solar cells will eventually replace roof tiles and shingles in all homes and businesses. The % loss from energy transport from solar cell to battery can be compensated by adding that % more cells (for now until efficiency improves.) The real game changer happens when Tesla's gigafactory is built in 2017 and it provides lower cost storage batteries to to homes through its subsidiary Solar City. A significant amount of the population will soon and finally be off the grid as it should be with huge reductions in carbon footprint.
It will happen first in areas where the sun shines regularly (such as the Southwest in the USA). There will be resistance by electric utilities that want to maintain their monopoly of power and would prefer to claim a power shortage and raise rates (because of the difficulties to build more fossil fuel and nuclear plants). Demand for power will continually increase and power distribution infrastructure will continue to get more inadequate. Individual off grid power where practical has a high likelihood to happen and it will be a growing and profitable (unstoppable) industry with a life of its own.
So there are two innovations here, 1) charging an electrochemical cell using solar energy, and 2) making the electrochemical cell breathe air.
This also makes it that much more useful for vehicles as the weight of a charged cell is lower than for a discharged one so these could be charged at a base station and exchanged when flat.
(imagines an entire roof covered in slowly charging D cells)
What a bunch of positive negativity! Here's something that appears to work, solves a number of problems, and most of the comments are why it is no good and we're all going to die anyway.
This is a brand new device, it is fresh out of the laboratory, and of course it isn't going to work as well as established technology. Give it a couple of years, and the story may be entirely different. Recall the first semiconductors - anyone else here remember the 2N107 or the 1N34? Low power, low frequency, costly, electrically fragile, and look at semiconductors now. Our society would utterly collapse without them and even if we tried to go back to vacuum tubes, it wouldn't help.
You guys are looking at a new-born baby and wondering if it is worthwhile because it hasn't already won the Nobel prize. Positively negative, we never should have come down from the trees.
but with solar cell efficiencies improving and the tendency for batteries to fail before PV panels do, I'd prefer to keep the systems separate so I can replace components as needed.
If a better battery comes along, or a cell dies, or a panel cracks, I'd rather just swap the part. As it is now, my camping array gets "more efficient" the longer I have it - I replace the lead acid with gel cells as budget allows, and add a few more panels to scale things up, swap in a new charge controller, and next year, a couple lightweight lithium-iron packs with the same capacity but a third the weight.
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