Solar power is fast becoming a more energy efficient green power conversion source, but mainly in sunny places. A breakthrough with graphene could extend that reach to muggier climates thanks to rain energy harnessing solar cells.
Graphene is a relatively new material that’s proving to be a wonder. Thanks to its high conductivity and structure it has been used to create solar cells that not only use sun for power, but rain too.
The panels were developed by the Ocean University of China. This was done by combining an electron-enriched graphene electrode with a dye-sensitised solar cell. Thanks to the positively charged sodium, calcium and ammonium ions in rain, a pseudocapacitor can be created to extract charge.
At the moment the rain and solar cells run at a conversion efficiency of 6.5 per cent. That's not great but this is very early days and that could be improved massively, just as solar cells have been over the years.
Imagine solar panels on homes and even cars that can convert energy constantly, come rain or shine. That is a future that could see green energy overtake fossil fuels in a much needed energy shake-up.