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Scientific breakthrough: You will never have to charge devices again?

Scientific breakthrough: You will never have to charge devices again?

Who doesn't know that? You want to switch or adjust the volume on your TV using the remote control. But instead of the desired effect, the device does not respond because the batteries in it are dead. Thanks to scientific progress, such problems could become a thing of the past.

Never charge devices again - this scientific breakthrough sets new standards

Never charge devices again – this scientific breakthrough sets new standards

Some devices may soon no longer need batteries or charging. Thanks to the so-called internal solar cells, the required electricity can be generated directly in the device. The smart thing is that these devices don't necessarily need sunlight. You can also use artificial light efficiently. This means that they literally “recycle” the electricity you have already used for other electrical appliances. The potential for new technology will be great in TV remotes alone. This would save about 3.1 billion batteries disposed of every year. Exeger has created indoor solar cells that can even use candlelight.

Internal solar cells eliminate the need for charging

Remote controls aren't the only type of electrical appliance for which new smart indoor solar cells can be considered. When disposable batteries are not used, lithium-ion batteries are often used in devices that need to be charged. Giovanni Felli, co-founder of Exeger, actually jokes about this and gives a glimpse into the future independent “Our grandchildren will laugh because we got cable service.” After all, not even our grandparents could have predicted that we would now be traveling the world with wireless in-ear headphones and owning smartphones with all kinds of functions. What sets Stockholm-based Exeger's solar cells apart is their specialty in converting any light into electrical energy.

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This means that the solar cells do not lose their ability to utilize sunlight. But especially indoors, where we humans spend many hours of the day, the amount of sunlight that reaches is limited. Alternatively, other light sources can also be used, such as lamps or even candlelight. A bright TV and its light can also be used to operate the remote control. The functional principle is similar to that of algae found on the sea floor, where it is also black in color. Algae should be able to extract significant benefit from the very small number of photons that make up light. Indoor solar cells are not a new technology. This method first attracted interest in an old acquaintance that many of us remember from school: the calculator. Small solar cells were installed in the devices, which enabled the calculator to work anywhere, even in low light, without batteries.

The biggest technical advance since 1988

The last major development step in indoor solar cells occurred more than 30 years ago, when researchers at the University of California were able to develop a process for producing inexpensive, flexible solar cells. However, indoor solar cells at the time were too inefficient for many sophisticated electrical devices. Exeger's new photovoltaic technology sets completely new standards here. Giovanni Felli and his co-founder Henrik Lindström have discovered a new material to produce electrons with about 1,000 times higher conductivity. This material is the new raw material for the manufacturers of Powerfoyle, their new, flexible indoor solar cells. The flexibility and high efficiency of solar cells can be suitable for many products. In particular, due to the waterproof, dustproof and impact-resistant properties of the material. Even when there is shading, the performance of the cells does not decrease noticeably as with classic solar cells.

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You'll never have to charge devices again – this scientific breakthrough makes it possible

The first devices are already taking advantage of the new internal solar cells. These include headphones, wireless speakers, and a bike helmet. An application could also be envisioned in smart watches or smartphones. According to Exegar, many smart home devices can be equipped with the entire film. Depending on the model, it may be possible to extend smartphone battery life by 50 to 100 percent. However, continuous playback of smartphones, tablets or laptops is not possible with the current performance of the film.