- Title: Shadow generator produces power from darkness
- Date: 8th July 2020
- Summary: SINGAPORE (RECENT - JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, DR. TAN SWEE CHING, AND COLLEAGUE, APPROACHING SHADOW EFFECT GENERATOR AND TURNING ON ELECTROMETER TAN'S COLLEAGUE TURNING ON LIGHT LAMP VARIOUS OF TAN'S COLLEAGUE COVERING SHADOW EFFECT GENERATOR WITH CARDBOARD PANEL TO CREATE SHADOW TAN'S COLLEAGUE'S HAND CASTING SHADOW OVER SHADOW EFFECT GENERATOR WITH CARDBOARD PANEL NEXT TO ELECTROMETER MONITOR ON ELECTOMETER SHOWING ELECTRICITY BEING GENERATED FROM SHADOW EFFECT GENERATOR (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, DR. TAN SWEE CHING, SAYING: "So the device is actually very simple. We just need to coat silicon substrate with either gold, platinum, or tungsten, and these could create a voltage difference when it's illuminated with light, because when the silicon substrate coated with the metal film on top of it is illuminated, electrons get excited into the gold film, and this, and the voltage difference between the illuminated part and the shadow region create a voltage difference, and therefore driving the electrons from the bright side to the dark side, and therefore creating electricity." TAN AND COLLEAGUE LOOKING ON VARIOUS OF TAN'S COLLEAGUE COVERING SHADOW EFFECT GENERATOR WITH CARDBOARD PANEL (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, DR. TAN SWEE CHING, SAYING: "So, as we all know, solar panels need to be placed in open areas, so they cannot be placed in areas where light has been obstructed, or shadows are being cast. So our shadow effect generator comes in handy. It can be placed in those areas to harvest, you know, obstructed light, for example."
- Embargoed: 22nd July 2020 10:41
- Keywords: National University of Singapore electricity from shadows shadow generator solar panels solar power
- Location: SINGAPORE / DATONG, SHANXI PROVINCE,
- City: SINGAPORE / DATONG, SHANXI PROVINCE,
- Country: Singapore
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLY9KYJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A new technology developed by scientists at the National University of Singapore is literally harnessing energy from the shadows to generate electricity.
The device, deemed the shadow-effect generator, is similar to a silicon solar panel cell. But instead of extracting energy from light, the device relies on the difference in voltage between the light and the dark parts of the device to generate energy.
Research team leader Dr. Swee Ching Tan said his team discovered the difference in the surface voltage between the illuminated and shadowed parts when a silicon substrate coated with a metal thin film of either gold, silver, platinum or tungsten is partially illuminated.
"The difference in light intensity between the illuminated part and the shadowed region create a voltage difference, driving the electrons from the bright side to the dark side, and therefore creating electricity," said Tan.
The device, which is currently confined to a size of around 6 sq cm, can produce around 0.25 volts. So around 20 of the panels, when connected, could produce 5 volts, which could possibly power a light bulb or charge a mobile phone.
In order to work, the device needs to partially be covered in shadow. Unlike solar panels, which require even spacing in wide-open areas, the shadow effect generator could be placed in crowded urban areas where shadows come in abundance, or even in households for practical daily use.
According to Dr. Tan, he and his team are still perfecting the device. They are considering founding a company to make the shadow effect energy available for home use.
(Production: Joseph Campbell)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None