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Battery can keep smart wearables charged with 30 seconds of sunlight

05 August 2022

A renewable battery has been developed by the University of Surrey that could charge smartwatches in seconds using solar cells.

Getty image (provided by University of Surrey)
Getty image (provided by University of Surrey)

Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has demonstrated how its new photo-rechargeable system, which merges zinc-ion batteries with perovskite solar cells, could allow wearables to spring back to life without the need to plug in.   

Jinxin Bi, a PhD candidate at ATI and the first author of the paper, said:  "This technology provides a promising strategy for efficient use of clean energy and enables wearable electronics to be operated continuously without plug-in charging. 
“Our prototype could represent a step forward to how we interact with wearables and other internet-of-things devices, such as remote real-time health monitors." 

Surrey's environmentally friendly, photo-rechargeable system is unique because of its elegant and well-matched structural design between the integrated battery and solar cell, allowing it to demonstrate high energy and volume density comparable to state-of-the-art micro-batteries and supercapacitors. 

Dr Wei Zhang, project co-lead and expert in perovskite solar cells from the ATI, said: "This project is an example of how the University of Surrey is dedicated to producing research and innovation that equips humanity with the knowledge, tools and technologies to help us live better and more sustainable lives." 

Dr Yunlong Zhao, project co-lead and expert in batteries for wearables and implantables from the ATI, said: "The unique features in our ultrafast photo-rechargeable system could promote wide applications in self-powered wearable internet-of-things, autonomous power systems and emergency electronics. In addition, it will broaden the perception and insight of designing the next generation of miniaturised flexible photo-rechargeable systems." 

The research was published in Energy Storage Materials


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