The integrated solar flow battery device contains both a solar cell to convert sunlight into electricity and chemicals that can store the electricity for later use. Credit: Wenjie Li
Chemists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their collaborators have created a highly efficient and long-lasting solar flow battery, a way to generate, store and redeliver renewable electricity from the sun in one device.
The new device is made of silicon solar cells combined with advanced solar materials integrated with optimally designed chemical components. The solar flow battery, made by the Song Jin lab in the UW-Madison chemistry department, achieved a new record efficiency of 20 percent. That bests most commercially available silicon solar cells used today and is 40 percent more efficient than the previous record holder for solar flow batteries, also developed by the Jin lab.
Schematic illustration of an integrated solar flow battery. A solar cell (in green) is hooked up to tanks of chemicals (in red and blue) that can store electricity for later use. Credit: Wenjie Li