Solar panels could soon be made with their own embedded battery storage in what is an Australian global first.
Batteries would be laminated to the back of the panels and deliver “in-built” storage, making it eventually standard for them to deliver energy day or night as required.
It’s one of several plans for ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries that could eventuate within three years and offer new opportunities for manufacturing.Currently companies such as Tesla and South Australia’s Redflow offer solar panel and battery solutions, but the batteries are separate entities. If this idea takes hold, printed-on storage could be part of an ordinary solar panel.
Roll-to-roll printing techniques
Printed Energy is developing a unique set of new battery chemistries that are suited to manufacture using traditional roll-to-roll printing techniques.
The key compounds are commonly available metals such as Zinc and Manganese Oxides and inorganic matrix structures mixed with polymers and electrolytes. Most importantly they are all non-toxic and very low flammability.
Printed Energy is printing solid state batteries in a thin, flexible format that can be adapted to almost any shape.
The goal is to print the batteries as an integrated printed element to power a myriad of new and evolving printed electronic applications. Their thin flexible format will also help the stand-alone version of Printed Energy’s batteries push the boundaries of more traditional battery applications.
Potential applications for the printed batteries range from powering disposable healthcare devices, sensors, internet of things devices, smart cards, wearable electronics and personal lighting; to larger scale applications such as in combination with flexible solar panels to help manage intermittency and energy storage.
Because they can be printed in any shape, printed batteries could also power electronic skin treatment patches and other wearable technology.