Datta Infra

Lithium-ion Battery that can be recharged with Solar Energy

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in India recently developed a small lithium-ion battery using photosensitive materials that can be recharged directly with solar heat, indicating the high utility of the unlimited asset of the sun.

Previous attempts to employ solar energy to charge batteries employed photovoltaic cells and batteries as distinct entities, according to the researchers. The photovoltaic cells transformed solar energy into electrical energy, which was then stored as chemical energy in the batteries. These batteries’ stored energy was subsequently used to power electrical gadgets. 

But this problem was the energy losses that occur when energy is transferred from one component to another, such as from the solar cell to the battery. To overcome this problem, Amar Kumar’s team at TIFR began investigating the usage of photosensitive components within the batteries themselves.

At the same moment, the group decided that it was necessary to address some of the most common pitfalls of solar batteries, such as their decreased ability to capture enough solar energy over time; their use of organic electrolytes, which can corrode the photosensitive organic component inside a battery; and the formation of side products, which can impede the battery’s long-term performance. 

Kumar and his coworkers began looking at novel photosensitive materials that can also include lithium in order to develop a leak-proof solar battery that can perform effectively under ambient circumstances.

According to the researchers, solar batteries with two electrodes typically incorporate a photosensitive dye physically combined with a stabilising component that aids in the passage of electrons through the battery. 

However, because an electrode is a physical mixing of two materials, the best use of the electrode’s surface area is limited. To circumvent this, the researchers built a single electrode made of a heterostructure comprising photosensitive molybdenum disulphide MoS2 and molybdenum oxide MoOx. This electrode provides for larger surface area to absorb solar energy since it is a heterostructure with MoS2 and MoOx bonded together using a chemical vapour deposition process. When light rays strike the electrode, photosensitive MoS2 generates electrons while also creating vacancies known as holes. The electrons and holes are separated by MoOx, which then sends the electrons to the battery circuit.

When subjected to simulated solar light, the scientists discovered that this solar battery, which was built from the ground up, performs effectively. 

Following these discoveries, Kumar and his co-authors set out to figure out how MoS2 and MoOx operate together with lithium anodes to generate current. 

“While this solar battery achieves a higher interaction of photosensitive material with light, it is yet to achieve the generation of optimum levels of current to fully recharge a lithium-ion battery,” says the team to the media

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