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Scientists Create Graphene Panels That Generate Energy From Rainfall

Mar 16, 2017 03:28 PM EDT
Researchers Develop Graphene Panels That Generate Energy Through Rainfall
A team of scientists is one step closer to creating solar panels that can generate energy when it rains, changing the entire dynamic of solar energy.
(Photo : Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Electricity from rain? A team of scientists has created solar panels that can harness and produce energy even if it's raining. 

The researchers from the Ocean University of China in Qingdao wanted to use a chemical reaction to separate salt from rainwater through graphene sheets. The principle, according to Ochen, lies in the fact that raindrops themselves are not made of pure power. Rather, they have salts that have positive and negative ions.

The positively charged ions bind to the layer of graphene and form a double layer called a pseudocapacitor. It will bond between the already-present electrons in the graphene and generate an electrical current.

Their earlier tests have proven successful. They have used salty water to stimulate rain and have created microvolts with a good 6.53 percent solar-to-electric conversion from their custom panel.

Moving forward, they now used an inexpensive solar cell called a dye-sensitized solar cell.They added a layer of graphene to the cell and placed it on a transparent foundation of indium tin oxide and plastic. This created an "all-weather" solar cell that can be used not only to get power from the sun, but also when it rains.

Since their product is still on a proof-of-concept stage, they still have to run some tests and prove the efficacy of their product. The next stage now is to generate enough electricity from reduced raindrops.

Graphene is a "wonder" material that is making researches wow in a lot of fields. Ochen itself has a list of prior graphene achievements that were already stunning the scientific community beforehand.

On the other hand, solar power in itself is already rising as not just a reliable renewable energy source, but a profitable one as well. The mere fact that there is a lot of hidden potential that can be used when it comes to photovoltaic cells means there is much left to be desired.

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