Electric cars need electricity……ain’t that the truth! We all know that in the near future hybrid cars are going to rule, but one major downfall for consumers is the scarcity of charging stations. To avoid the charging station hindrance, solar cell would probably be a better option, but where could you get the power to directly charge lithium-ion batteries used in electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
It seems that researchers from Case Western Reserve University have figured out a combination of solar cell type and battery to charge an electric vehicle battery better than ever before. They connected four perovskite solar cells in a series to enhance the voltage and directly charge lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Liming Dai, the Kent Hale Smith Professor of macromolecular science and engineering and the leader of the research says, “We found the right match between the solar cell and battery. Others have used polymer solar cells to charge lithium batteries, but not with this efficiency.”
Solar cells made of perovskite react to a broader range of the visible light spectrum than ordinary cells made from silicon. Perovskite’s potential for highly efficient power conversion and a quick payback in terms of energy savings over conventional power sources have made it one of the fastest growing sectors in the solar power field. Dai’s lab made multilayer solar cells, which increases their energy density, performance and stability. Testing showed that the three layers convert into a single perovskite film.
Jiantie Xu and Yonghu Chen, macromolecular science and engineering research associates in Case School of Engineering say, “We envision, in the not too distant future, this is a system that you could have at home to refuel your car and, eventually, because perovskite solar cells can be made as a flexible film, they would be on the car itself.” Researchers are developing small-scale prototypes and working to further improve the perovskite cell’s stability and optimize the system. This technology seems to be perfect for traditional looking cars rather than cars like the Immortus solar sports car, whose every available surface is covered in solar panelling.
The research was published in the most recent issue of Nature Communications.