A new kind of solar cell could store electrical energy without any help from traditional batteries, according to a new study.Researchers at Ohio State University, in Columbus, have developed what they’re calling the world’s first solar battery — a hybrid device that combines the energy-capturing abilities of a solar cell with the energy-storing capabilities of a battery.The new cell could lower the cost of harvesting renewable energy from the sun by as much as 25 percent, according to the researchers. [Top 10 Craziest Environmental Ideas]The key to the device’s success is a mesh solar panel that allows both sunlight and air to enter the cell. This porous material represents a departure from the solid semiconductor materials typically used to make solar cells. Allowing both light and oxygen into the cell enables the chemical reactions that typically occur inside a battery to occur within the solar cell itself.”The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” lead researcher Yiying Wu, a professor of chemistry at Ohio State, said in a statement. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you… Read full this story
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