Forget that morning coffee… your solar panels need it more than you do.
That’s the verdict from scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Solargiga Energy in China, who have conducted a study suggesting caffeine can boost the efficiency and stability of an alternative type of solar cells.
They say the stimulant can help make perovskite solar cells better at converting light to electricity, allowing it to be more cost-competitive with traditional solar cells.
Caffeine is an alkaloid compound containing molecular structures that interact with the crystal structures that form the light-harvesting layer in the solar cells.
The scientist added the chemical to the solar cells and observed what happened using infrared spectroscopy -they saw that the caffeine successfully bonded with the perovskite material, with carbonyl groups joining with with lead ions in the layer to create a “molecular lock.”
They say this increased the minimum amount of energy required for the solar film to react to sunlight, boosting the efficiency of the entire structure from 17% to more than 20%.