A Transparent, Solar-Powered Lighting Module With Integrated Energy Storage

Technology #13187

Invention

The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing a system that could replace glass in standard windows and make traditional lighting solutions obsolete. An essential modern-day convenience, artificial lighting drains limited natural resources, consuming approximately 22 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States. Most of the world still relies on grossly inefficient lighting technology created in the 19th century. Incandescent bulbs, for example, waste more than 90 percent of the energy they consume. Use of solar-powered and solid-state lighting is on the rise. Solid-state lighting includes light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and light-emitting polymers. In an effort to maximize efficiency, University of Florida researchers created a module that includes an OLED device, a solar cell for power generation and a lithium ion battery for energy storage. They designed it in such a way that all non-transparent components are situated at the outer edges. The material can, therefore, serve as a substitute for glass in window. With vast market potential, the invention could substantially reduce residential and commercial energy costs.

Application

Translucent material that emits light, alternating between two sources (solar power and battery power) as needed

Advantages

  • Uses a highly efficient design, resulting in substantial cost savings
  • Relies on a renewable energy source, appealing to ecological responsibility
  • Creates sustainable power, decreasing dependence on oil
  • Combines power generation, energy storage and lighting, enhancing functionality and convenience

Technology

This invention integrates an organic light-emitting diode (OLED), a power-generation device (solar cell), and an energy-storage device (lithium ion battery or LIB) to power a grid-free lighting module. PV/LIB/LED voltage and capacity matching ensure maximal energy storage and optimal conversion efficiency. The outermost layer (i.e. the one facing the external environment), consists of a transparent electrode. Working inward, the next stratum generates power and includes a PV absorbing layer and PV electrode. Following this is the energy utilizing component, an OLED layer that allows for the transportation and emission of electrons. Finally, an ITO layer (flanked by batteries) rests atop the system’s transparent substrate.