At an average of 26% conversion efficiency, a new cell composition has broken the company’s previous record of 15%, already recognised by Texas Instruments’ Solar Lab as the most efficient indoor light energy harvesting technology on the market.
The breakthrough, which rates G24i ’s new PV cell as almost five times more powerful than its nearest commercial competitor, is based on recent work by Professor Michael Graetzel and colleagues at the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces , Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Professor Graetzel’s dye-sensitised cell invention is recognised as coming close to mimicking the light reaction in nature’s photosynthesis.
The new composition of dye and electrolyte has been engineered to efficiently harvest the light spectrum found in indoor ambient light and produce a higher voltage, thus generating more recycled electricity from light .
The company’s PV cells are already being used instead of batteries to power a number of products on the market – from shade and blind systems for one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas to computer peripherals products such as wireless keyboards. The breakthrough will substantially increase G24i’s global market opportunity and, ultimately, the replacement of batteries with renewable power in everyday consumer electronics. Another crucial advantage of the technology is its ability to provide a clean interface between consumer electronics and the electricity Grid, reducing ‘phantom’, standby power wastage, estimated to account for up to 8% of UK residential electricity use.
“This efficiency achievement is impressive”, commented Professor Graetzel, recipient of the 2012 Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the 2010 Millennium Technology Prize for inventing Dye Sensitized Cells. “It puts the 30% threshold within reach. Ultimately, close to 40% power conversion efficiency appears feasible with this kind of light source”.
Richard Costello, Chief Operating Officer of G24i, said: “Whilst our latest PV cell breaks new ground for energy harvesting technology, it will not require the construction of a dedicated Fabrication Plant, as you’d typically see with advances in Semi-Conductor/Silicon Solar Cell technology. We can simply replace current cells with the newly improved composition at our existing Cardiff manufacturing facility.
“This represents a considerable step forward for our business. New applications of our technology become possible at this efficiency rate. And current applications will require smaller modules to achieve the same power density, allowing product designers in the consumer electronics space to throw away the rule book.
“The global market for disposable batteries is worth in the region of $80bn a year. The potential to increase the volume of sales for our technology is immense.”