New battery can recharge itself using sunlight

Summary:A team of scientists have developed a prototype for batteries that can be recharged simply by being left out in the sun.

A team of scientists are hoping to give those old school re-chargeable batteries a solar-powered makeover.

Mention solar technology to people and for many it still brings to mind big clunky panels housed at sprawling industrial facilities. But recent advances in solar cells has already allowed the technology to be miniaturized and integrated into a variety of everyday household products. Last year, the Japanese company Sanyo was honored with an IF Design award at the CeBIT technology conference for a developing a dual solar-powered light and USB charger. Now comes a battery prototype that can be recharged simply by being left out in the sun.

The researchers are calling their concept the Light Catcher, which is basically a photoelectronic battery comprised of tiny anti-reflective solar cells that soak up energy from the sun. A transparent encasing protects the battery while allowing sunlight to shine through. The batteries come in AA and AAA sizes and can be inserted into most portable electronics, anything from remote controls to toys. There's also the option to power electronics using a 3.5mm jack.

The innovators behind the "Light Catcher" concept are Yung-Hsaing Chang, Ming-Shien Lin and Chang-Ting Lu. The team developed the batteries as an entry into this year's iF Design awards, given out each year by the Hanover-based firm iF International Forum Design.

While miniaturized solar technology is still a ways from meeting the rigorous energy demands of many portable electronics like laptops and Smartphones, such advances are still quite promising. The amount of energy that can be tapped from sunlight is enormous considering that the current technology converts only a small percentage into use-able electricity.

Photo: Yanko Design

Related on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of He holds degrees from the University of California... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.