The Future is here! Often times if weather conditions are bad and full of rain clouds, for example, solar panels cannot optimize their energy output. However, recently all this is coming to a halt. There is a new system that actually does not use silicon and allows the panels to harness rain to create energy.
This new PV cell is made with graphene, which could boost solar storage by 3,000% according to Science Alert. IFL Science describes it as translucent, “incredibly light, flexible, exponentially stronger than steel, and capable of conducting electricity even better than copper”. In regards to PV cells, Global Futurist describes the process in terms of a Lewis acid-base interaction. When water is present, the graphene binds its electrons with positively charged ions in the water molecule. This forms a dual layer pseudocapacitor and the sharp difference in energy between the two layers produces electricity.
Graphene comes from graphite and was not researched until the early 2000s. Solar cells were first introduced to this material only a few years ago. Graphene is great for solar cells because overall it requires much less light energy and, thus, is much more efficient. For more information and a video of how to make graphene go to Gigaom. Even though it sounds like this is a dream-material, the big critiques of this say that is it just such a new material that it needs to be researched more and made more suitable for commercial use.
Once it is brought to commercial use, it will be great for everyone because it will not only be able to provide energy for homes and businesses, but also to the everyday electronic user. It will be able to give a longer life to the many electronic devices in our life such as mobile phones and computers. According to Gigaom, graphene could also be used for camera sensors, DNA sequencing, gas sensing, material strengthening, water desalination, transparent screens and transistors. There is still a lot of work to do, but the future looks promising with graphene in it.