Australian solar cell researchers have created a ‘solar-flow battery’ that can generate, store, and deliver renewable electricity in a single device.

Researchers at the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales working with chemists at the University of Wisconsin have created a highly efficient and long-lasting solar-flow battery, made of perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells attached to specially-designed chemical battery components.

The solar-flow battery has achieved a new record efficiency of 20 per cent conversion of energy from the Sun.

This is 40 per cent more efficient than the previous record for solar-flow batteries, which was set in the same US lab.

The researchers turned to an increasingly popular material for photovoltaic cells, halide perovskites, and combined them with silicon solar cells to increase their efficiency by capturing more energy from the Sun.

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie at the University of Sydney Nano Institute and postdoctoral researcher Dr Jianghui Zheng at UNSW designed and fabricated the perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells so that they can maintain their performance and stability while withstanding the chemicals in a flow battery.

The research could potentially yield a new way to harvest, store and use the Sun’s energy for solar home systems.

The latest study is accessible here.