Electronic gadgets made by Apple and Samsung could be getting a future energy boost from solar power.
It’s been reported by Digitimes and other sources that the electronics giants have been looking into the suitability of various photovoltaic solar technologies.
‘Organic’ solar technology options
It’s said that the companies are currently looking into micro ‘organic’ solar panels – photovoltaic cells that are small enough to fit into small devices, but are less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity as standard rooftop style solar panels.
‘Organic’ solar technology is still in development, with several Taiwanese firms in the running to make them, but it’s still not clear if the cells will be cost-effective for consumer electronics use.
Building on previous solar gadgets
Samsung has already experimented with solar powered phones. The Crest Solar and Blue Earth models both featured solar panels for recharging and the Replenish smart phone has space for an optional photovoltaic cell in it.
As previously reported on Green Abode, Samsung are also about to launch a solar powered netbook to the African and US markets in 2011.
At the moment it’s not known how long organic cells will last for. Battery life is a known consideration for gadget buyers, but with the organic technology then there’s the possibility of having to replace solar cells too.
Solar research & development continues apace
It’s clear that some more research and development is in order before efficient solar powered mobile phones and small consumer electronics go mainstream. However, with the amount of research going into photovoltaic solar power around the world, Green Abode is sure that there should be some major breakthroughs in the near future.
Solar cling film, inkjet solar printing & ‘nantennas’
Apple itself has been busy registering patents for various solar technology, and there has also been intriguing research from the Sheffield and Cambridge Universities into a kind of solar powered cling film.
American scientists have also been working on a system producing solar cells using inkjet printing technology, while more cutting edge solar research from the States includes a project developing thin, mouldable sheets of small ‘nantennas’ which could capture more than 90% of available light.
Solar power already used widely domestically
Whatever happens in the future, eco-friendly solar power is already firmly here for home use. And with government incentives like the Feed-in Tariff scheme, where you can sell any excess energy generated back into the National Grid, it’s becoming cost-effective too.