SunCat Batteries Are Self-Charging, Wrapped In Solar Cells.

Using rechargeable batteries is a great way to cut down on the waste we produce and to save money at the same time, but you need to be organized and keep a charger on hand. Well, inventor Knut Karlsen has come up with a clever solution that crosses a solar charger and a rechargeable cell to make, what is essentially, a self-charging battery.

These simple, yet novel prototypes are made up of regular C-size NiMH rechargeable cells that are wrapped with flexible photovoltaic panels. Using some flat wires and a conductive silver pen, the designer made a connection from the solar panel to the battery on each that allows for a trickle charge. He has ideas to improve the design further too, like adding a charge-level gauge and capacitors for more efficient charging, but they would be difficult to implement without increasing the battery’s size.

This idea has a lot of potential for low-powered gadgets that require infrequent battery changes, like wall clocks or remote controls. In these applications, power could be sustained with ambient light alone, where as higher-powered devices would probably require direct sunlight – something that batteries are never supposed to see, due to a risk of explosion.

It would certainly be useful for prolonging battery life in many devices and could be an option perhaps for electronics designers dabbling in solar tech, like with the recent photovoltaic phones from Samsung and LG.

Sources:
BareKnut via Inhabitat

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Comments (One Response):

Interesting, but I don’t see many people rushing in to buy them. (1) They will have to cost more than a regular rechargeable battery (2) If you are dead set on using the sun to charge your batteries get a solar charger with a decent size panel. (3) Tres untidy having batteries lying around for days absorbing sunlight.

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