Could Solar Cells Produce Energy from the Rain?

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Researchers from across several organizations have come together to find a simple way for solar plants to harness the power of both the sun and rain.

According to the American Chemical Society (ACS), the researchers published a report in ACS Nano about a hybrid solar cell that can generate power from raindrops.

ACS said that previous research sought to make a hybrid solar cell by adding a pseudocapacitor, or triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), to an existing solar cell to make energy from the motion of raindrops. Those devices, ACS said, are complicated to manufacture and are bulky.

New research, however, improves on that system.

According to ACS, the researchers imprinted two polymers with grooves by placing them onto commercially available DVDs. The additional texture increased the TENG performance of the material when water drops touched it and then fell off it. And, because the polymers were transparent, the solar cell could still generate energy from sunlight, as well as from falling raindrops.

Related: 5 Solar Innovations That Will Make Engineers Giddy

The researchers represented Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials and Devices; Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials; Joint International Research Laboratory of Carbon-Based Functional Materials and Devices; and Soochow University.

Lead image credit: CC0 Creative Commons | Pixabay

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