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New Indoor Solar Cell Means Devices Never Need Charging

Harvesting energy from any light source - even a candle - a new generation of ultra-durable and flexible solar cells means devices never need charging. Are we heading into a battery-free future?

Powerfoyle, indoor solar cell
Powerfoyle eliminates the need for disposable batteries and cables | Exeger

Every few seconds, in a factory on the edge of Sweden's capital city owned by a company called Exeger, a remarkable printer is spewing out revolutionary, flexible sheets containing 108 miniature solar cells that will soon find their way into everyday gadgets that will fundamentally change how we interact with technology.

Exeger co-founder Giovanni Fili reckons that “our grandchildren will laugh that we had cables.”

Sweden may seem an unlikely location for a solar revolution, but the lack of light during the winter months was one of the reasons Fili looked beyond the Sun as the sole source of power for a photovoltaic cell. His company’s breakthrough tech can harvest electricity from virtually any light source, from direct sunlight to candlelight.

Exeger’s Powerfoyle solar cells offer a radical departure from the traditional glass-covered panels. The patented skin-like material can even morph into almost any material to allow for seamless integration into a huge range of products, while remaining waterproof, dustproof and shockproof.

Fili says that their product is "more durable than any other solar cell in the world, it’s easy to manufacture, and it can imitate any surface - leather, carbon fibre, wood, brushed steel." Adding: “So we can integrate into products that are already selling in the billions of units per year.”

Fili predicts that Exeger’s technology will “touch the lives of a billion people by 2030”. The Powerfoyle solar cells have already found their way into seven on-the-shelf products -including headphones, wireless speakers and a bike helmet - while a further six have been announced. Customers include Adidas, Phillips and 3M, while they are also rumoured to be in talks with LogiTech and Apple.

Exeger is one of several startups pioneering the commercialisation of indoor solar panels, with the promise of clean, endless power attracting both researchers and entrepreneurs.

They promise not just convenience but also huge environmental benefits. TV remotes alone are responsible for 3.1 billion disposable batteries being thrown away each year, according to estimates from Samsung. “This is really, really huge,” Fili says. “We have just secured a contract with the world’s largest supplier of keyboards and mice, and have already partnered with some of the biggest companies and brands on the planet. This technology is going to take over the world.”


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