A Spherical Solar Cell From Japan: The Sphelar

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A Kyoto-based company, Kyosemi, has created a spherical solar cell design. The “Sphelar” is a matrix of tiny, spherical-shaped solar cells, about 1mm in diameter. The spheres are designed to absorb sunlight at any angle, and therefore do not require motorization for tracking the sun. Because of their geometry, Sphelar cells even optimize the use of reflected and indirect light, and have been shown to convert energy with close to 20% efficiency — beyond most flat photovoltaic technologies.


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Sphelar is produced using a unique process whereby melted silicon is subjected to free fall, and spheres are formed naturally by the microgravity conditions, so there is hardly any waste of raw materials at all.

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Its flexible disposition also makes Sphelar appropriate for applications at a variety of scales, including mobile electronic devices.

Sphelar Web Site

Via Worldchanging

Comments

  1. says

    It seems like a concave parabolic array of photovoltaic cells (aimed toward the sun) would be much more efficient. With a convex shape, there will always be a percentage of cells that isn’t directly exposed.

  2. Scam Catcher says

    Old Technology with new lipstick.

    The tiny cell is nothing new. It has been around for over 20 years. All they have done is package it up in a silicone resin so light can hit it from multiple directions. Has anyone seen what happens to silicone resin in REAL weather conditions. It kind of loses it’s transparency and gets brittle. So how do you solve the problem? You buy another one to replace it!! Great revenue replenishing product for Kyosemi.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!! Yea, right.

    • Dwindle says

      Silicone can easily survive 50 years of direct sunlight, or even more. It can also handle temperature extremes far higher and lower than found anywhere on earth.

  3. Como says

    Presuming it works, and doesnt need to be replaced every few years, it also looks like it’d make an interesting “window tint.”

    Plaster a glass skyscraper with it. With some of that mirror-finish glass some buildings use underneath it, light would not only hit the cells first on their way to the glass, but then the glass tint would reflect more light back out towards the back side of the cells, creating a good 20%+ more light hitting the cells.

  4. ann says

    i agree with ed. why bend when the cells and reduce surface area. we should just use flat panels attached to sunflowers, they follow the sun all day dont they..

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