Battery Wrapped in Solar Cells Recharges in the Sun

Mar 02, 2009 by Lisa Zyga weblog
A battery with a half-glued flexible solar cell, and batteries wrapped with the blue solar cells. Image credit: Knut Karlsen.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although you can buy solar charging devices for rechargeable batteries, it would be even more convenient if batteries had built-in solar cells. Sitting in sunlight, the battery could then recharge itself.

Knut Karlsen, a blogger from Norway, hit upon this idea of a solar battery (a rechargeable battery with integrated solar cells) in hopes of making battery charging more convenient. He was able to work with some flexible solar cells given to him by the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Norway. He then glued the 1.8V solar cells around some 1.5V NiMH rechargeable batteries. Using a conductive silver pen and some flat wires from a broken canon lens, he connected the solar cells and batteries.

Karlsen calls his DIY prototype "SunCat" batteries. As he explains, "The batteries should just bask in the sun like a cat and left for a while, in a sunny window, they would slowly recharge." However, according to his blog post, the weather wasn't sunny enough to test the batteries yet. He explains that the current set-up is not ideal, but a second version might include capacitors to charge the batteries more efficiently and electronics to show when the batteries are fully charged.

Via: blog.bareknut.no

Explore further: Turning bio-waste into hydrogen

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new approach to creating organic zeolites

Jul 24, 2014

Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, is known worldwide for using nanomaterials to solve problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics.

The future's most pressing energy questions

Jul 16, 2014

Top researchers, entrepreneurs, scholars, and policymakers from Massachusetts and Switzerland convened at Northeastern University on Friday for an energy summit, where participants discussed innovations and ...

Recommended for you

Turning bio-waste into hydrogen

19 hours ago

Whilst hydrogen cars look set to be the next big thing in an increasingly carbon footprint-aware society, sustainable methods to produce hydrogen are still in their early stages. The HYTIME project is working on a novel production ...

Economical and agile offshore construction ship

Jul 25, 2014

Siemens is currently installing the power supply and propulsion systems into a new multi-purpose offshore construction ship for Toisa Ltd. The ship, which is being built by the Korean company Hyundai Heavy ...

User comments : 10

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Modernmystic
3.5 / 5 (11) Mar 02, 2009
A good example of the true use of solar energy. This is how people should be looking at the technology. Not powering the energy needs of the entire world, but as a niche source of power.

Very clever idea.
barakn
2.3 / 5 (8) Mar 02, 2009
Take a solar cell conveniently flattened so it's entire surface can be placed with the ideal orientation in the sun, then wrap it around a battery so half the cell doesn't receive any direct sunlight and only a small fraction of the sunlit side is ideally exposed. Finally, throw away the perfectly functional solar cell because the battery it's attached to has been cycled too many times and no longer works.
poi
2 / 5 (6) Mar 02, 2009
lol!
i read the heading.
viewed just to comment.
both are inefficient. lol!
nothing clever... really.
Icester
1.5 / 5 (2) Mar 03, 2009
The truly innovative part of this article that got me very excited was the 1.5V NiMH batteries!!!! Stupid me, I always thought they were 1.2V.

I have a couple of devices that puke on the 1.2V instead of the alkaline 1.5V. Sure would be nice to have some of these special 1.5V NiMH batteries....

How much credibility are you going to give an article when they can't get the basics correct? Also, wouldn't it be a little hard for the batteries to recharge if in a device? haha. Real convenient! All right, altogether now, TOTAL FAIL!
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Mar 03, 2009
Yes for God sake we don't want anything inefficient but TOTALLY convenient. We want to keep going like we're going where virtually NO ONE recharges their batteries, or uses solar power to any degree at all because of the hoops the technology makes them jump trough.

We don't want a technology that's so convenient that all someone has to do is let something SIT somewhere for a period of time and then re-use it virtually GUARANTEEING it WILL be used. No, no, we want people to be FORCED to use the kind of technology we think they SHOULD used because it conforms to OUR almighty notions of efficiency, or "green-ness".

Yeah it isn't efficient, yeah you're going to throw things away (just like you do now...), and WOAH they made a mistake on the voltage of the battery in the article...man that should like totally discredit the idea right THERE.

Pftt....whatever. No wonder the ecowacko movement is still stuck in the starting gate. Maybe it should stay there a while longer...
DozerIAm
4 / 5 (3) Mar 04, 2009
Clever idea, give me some specific measurables such as avg time to charge and price, then I'll decide if its of value to me.

Currently, rechargable batteries are too short lived for me. Disposables may be little rolled up tubes of toxicity, but by gosh they are cheap, readily available, and last for years if unused.
Ashibayai
not rated yet Mar 08, 2009
Yes for God sake we don't want anything inefficient but TOTALLY convenient. We want to keep going like we're going where virtually NO ONE recharges their batteries, or uses solar power to any degree at all because of the hoops the technology makes them jump trough.

We don't want a technology that's so convenient that all someone has to do is let something SIT somewhere for a period of time and then re-use it virtually GUARANTEEING it WILL be used. No, no, we want people to be FORCED to use the kind of technology we think they SHOULD used because it conforms to OUR almighty notions of efficiency, or "green-ness".

Yeah it isn't efficient, yeah you're going to throw things away (just like you do now...), and WOAH they made a mistake on the voltage of the battery in the article...man that should like totally discredit the idea right THERE.

Pftt....whatever. No wonder the ecowacko movement is still stuck in the starting gate. Maybe it should stay there a while longer...


Well I think what Barakn is trying to say is, if you consider the costs economically and ecologically that the solar cells on these batteries are costing then you'd find that they're not only bad for the environment, but also bad for your wallet. This makes them essentially useless and redundant when you could just plug the normal rechargeable batteries into a solar powered charger that, given the consumer base of these "green batteries", would sell just as easily and be far more efficient in both aspects previously mentioned.
Bob_Kob
not rated yet Mar 09, 2009
You know, don't batteries usually say keep out of direct light / heat. Im thinking a couple of batteries cooking out in the sun all day would explode.
Velanarris
not rated yet Mar 13, 2009
Well I think what Barakn is trying to say is, if you consider the costs economically and ecologically that the solar cells on these batteries are costing then you'd find that they're not only bad for the environment, but also bad for your wallet.
Solar cells have become a thousand fold cheaper over the past 6 months due to a new technique used to "print" the cell rather than layer and press after chemical treatment. Solar cells of this size and type of use would cost pennies and are almost completely biodegradable and recyclable.

I'm with Modern on this, it's a good idea, and a good way to get people off of a toxic disposable item.
Ashibayai
not rated yet Mar 14, 2009
Yeah, but how many people will recycle them and how much does it take from the environment for the materials to make them?

Reusable batteries are a great idea. Especially with solar energy being harnessed to charge them, but the format of a round battery that most people value at close to nothing isn't the most efficient way to go.

I do say, however, I'd like to see them in the marketplace. I just don't believe they'll sell well, or make a major difference in "going green".