In solar power generation, shade is a problem that hinders efficient generation. However, scientists from the National University of Singapore have managed to use this problem for good. The Shadow-Effect Energy Generator (SEG) they developed is described in an article published in Energy & Environmental Science.
The operation of the SEG generator is based on the potential difference between the parts of the device that are in the light and in the shade, respectively. Due to this difference, an electric current is generated. The generating surface itself consists of cells in which an ultrathin gold film is deposited on a silicon wafer. But despite the use of gold in the design, the developers claim that the SEG generator will be much cheaper than the “classic” solar panels. In addition, the first tests of the device showed that in conditions of variable illumination it is twice as effective.
The prototype, created by the team of scientists, creates a voltage of 1.2 V. Even with the small dimensions of the device, this was enough to keep the digital clock running. This is not too much, but the authors of the project promise to increase its capacity. Interestingly, the SEG-generator can also act as a motion sensor: it is able to respond to the movements of objects that cast a shadow on the device.