How solar cells work underwater

Cells are still useful despite been submerged though they lose more power yield. Indian researchers say that cells put under the water are used to monitor sensors as well as defense and commercial applications. The battery used for testing during the study is amorphous silicon from Panasonic.

According to the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Defence Materials and Stores R & D Establishment, Pilani Hyderabad Campus, and Birla Institute of Technology and Science said that immersed cells benefit from lower temperatures and cleaning environment.

Ideal for small devices

According to the Hyderabad and Kanpur, they said that the prevailing conversation efficiency could be enough to provide energy to submerged marine electronic devices.

The researchers put to the test an amorphous cell that was coated with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) up to 20 cm deep. The scientists said that the PDMS is inert, non-flammable, and non-toxic. The coating solution helped in improving the output of the cell by 2.79%.

The reason why the researchers used amorphous silicon cells is that they have a spectral sensitivity to absorb light. The amorphous cells have a visibility wavelength range of 380-780nm, making it suitable for underwater environments whereby the spectrum became thin as it goes deeper into the water. The cells are also ideal for both outdoor and indoor environments.

Types of water

The Panasonic cell performance was measured with an SS50AA solar simulator and was immersed in four different water environments, which included lake water, artificial seawater, de-ionized water, and seawater. The waters were mixed with commercially bought sea salt that had 3.5% salinity as well as other water foreign dirt.

The water that recorded poor performance was later water with algae, bacteria, and other contaminants blocking the transparency of the liquid. The water that produced the best power output was the de-ionized of 0. 0367W at 200 cm deeper. Artificial water had a power output of 0.0320W and seawater 0.0337W.

Despite the potential difficulties and restrictions, the outcomes showed there is a significant capability of solar PV technology in underwater monitoring devices or sensors as well as various defense and commercial applications.

“The operation has been carried out through a funded project by the Development Organisation, Defence Research, and the Indian Defence Laboratory in maximizing and exploring all possibilities to harness underwater solar power to enable to run different surveillance devices and submerged sensor.” Said Sanket Goel, the Research Coordinator and Professor at BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad Campus.

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