Solar in your cell phone?

British start-up Molecular Solar is working on low-cost organic photovoltaic solar cells that could be used to charge the batteries in your smart phone.

A British start-up called Molecular Solar spun out of the University of Warwick reports that it has tested a voltage of more than 4 volts for an organic solar photovoltaic device. The researchers believe the low-cost solar technology could be suited for future generations of consumer electronics products. Think of it. Built-in solar charging. Stuff like this starts to happen, and quick, as we begin to rely ever more heavily on mobile phones, global positioning satellite (GPS) receivers and so on.

"This is an important advance," said Ross Hatton, Molecular Solar research director. "We are now very close to having highly flexible organic photovoltaic cells that will be capable of delivering electrical energy at a voltage suitable for recharging lithium ion batteries that are widely used in portable consumer electronics. Remarkably, this high voltage is achieved using a cell with only four junctures [sub-cells]."

Molecular Solar believes its technology will ultimately find uses in a wide range of gadgets, although it doesn't say when. The company is currently in the process of finalizing an investment round of slightly less than $8 million to commercialize is OPV and MS-Flexifilm electrode technologies.