New solar panel turns rain into power

Chinese scientists have created new solar panel technology that transforms the power of rain into electricity, according to Australia Network News.

Published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the study says the new technology utilises electron-enriched graphene electrode and dye-sensitised solar cell, which can be stimulated by both rain and sun.

Ocean University of China and Yunnan Normal University in China scientists have developed thin-film photovoltaic cells that use organic dye to gather sunlight and create electrons, consequently producing energy. The water clings to the graphene and forms two layers, also known as pseudocapacitor, with the graphene electrons.

When combined with water, the highly conducive graphene separates into ions – namely calcium, ammonium and sodium – which produces energy. The differences in energy of these layers are strong enough to create electricity, according to the report.

It’s believed the new technology could help people living in areas that do not have enough solar energy for regular solar panel use. One researcher commented the technology could be a good replacement for congenital energy used around the globe.

“The dye-sensitized cells where this is applied are not the type of technology that would be deployed globally as a replacement of conventional energy,” said Vasilis Fthenakis, a senior research scientist at Columbia University.

“They have applications mostly in diffuse-light applications, not in the high sun regions.”

Via Australia Network News