Materials Science

This Stuff Turns Solar, Heat, And Kinetic Energy Into Electricity—At The Same Time

Scientists have discovered a material that might be science's biggest overachiever. This material, which is a type of a mineral called perovskite, can turn sunlight, heat, and movement into electricity—all at the same time. What a show-off.

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Say Hello To KBNNO

Perovskite solar cells were invented in 2009, and since then have been seen as the next big thing in renewable energy—they're cheaper and more efficient than silicon solar cells, and that efficiency is increasing every year. As ScienceAlert reports, "Perovskite solar cells have proven to be cheaper and more efficient than traditional silicon solar cells, and their efficiency levels have increased from 3.8 percent in 2009 to 22.1 percent in 2016, making them the fastest-advancing solar technology to date."

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Researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have now done perovskite solar cells one—make that two better. In a study published in journal Applied Physics Letters in February 2017, the researchers state that a type of perovskite called KBNNO converts solar, heat, and kinetic energy into electricity all at once. What's more, it can do it all at room temperature, making it a practical energy solution. This is the first type of perovskite mineral that's been able to do that. Impressive!

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What's Next?

Prepare for smarter, super-connected everything. Although KBNNO isn't powerful enough to power your home, it can provide energy for the small gadgets you use every day. Researcher Yang Bai and his team are looking to create a multi-energy-harvesting device with this mineral soon. "This will push the development of the Internet of Things and smart cities, where power-consuming sensors and devices can be energy sustainable," Bai said in a press release.

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How KBNNO Is Changing The Game