Solar Flow Battery Allows PV Generation and Storage in One Device

By: | July 14th, 2020

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. Image courtesy: Wenjie Li

Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with solar flow batteries that are ultra-efficient and long-lasting. This breakthrough device gives a way to generate, store and re-deliver renewable electricity from the sun in one device.

Combination of several existing technologies

This innovative device has the combination of silicon/perovskite tandem solar cell and redox flow battery.  

For energy-harvesting, researchers used silicon along with a promising young upstart called perovskite. These tandem solar cells capture different wavelengths of light. Therefore are better than either material alone.

For storage, the team chose flow battery. The solar flow battery used in the device is made by the Song Jin lab in the UW-Madison chemistry department.

Device achieved a new record efficiency of 20%

Device was able to maintain high efficiency and most of its capacity, over hundreds of hours and charge-discharge cycles. Not only that, its lifespan is several times longer than other flow batteries.

“That’s 20 percent efficiency any time you like,” says Song Jin, lead researcher on the study. “You can use the solar electricity right away during the day and get 20 percent, or you can use it in the evening from storage and get 20 percent.”

According to researchers, the device will be perfect for homes in remote areas. It has the potential to provide reliable electricity generation and storage for home use.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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