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New indoor solar cell technology could lay AA batteries to rest

Researchers at SDU have developed solar cell technology that will make AA, AAA, and button cell batteries redundant. The prototype is ready, and the researchers aim to produce 5,000 units daily within a year. They are now seeking entrepreneurs who can help bring it to market.

By Sune Holst, , 3/15/2024

Do you know the feeling when the kitchen scale never has batteries when you finally get around to baking bread? Or when the remote runs out just as you're about to tell Netflix you're still watching after the sixth episode of the series you're binge-watching? And let's not even start with the frustration of a PlayStation controller draining batteries like a thirsty mosquito on a late summer evening.

But all of that could soon be a thing of the past. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have developed indoor solar cells that can make small batteries like AAA and AA obsolete.

"Our indoor solar cell technology represents a shift in how we think about energy supply in our homes," says Bhushan Patil, the researcher behind the technology.

"It's like having a small solar panel indoors that constantly converts light into electricity, and it could revolutionize how we power our everyday technology."

The new solar cells are designed to focus on efficiency, durability, and aesthetics, making them suitable for integration into various indoor environments without compromising aesthetics or functionality. In short, they can be customized into any shape and size that you can imagine and can be integrated or stuck on anything.

"You may remember your calculator from elementary school that ran on solar cells. The principle is the same, except organic solar cells are millimetres thin, flexible, transparent, attractive and can be stuck on anything. And it looks neat. Above all, they are made from environmentally friendly materials i.e. no need for special recycling after their lifespan as in case of the batteries. These solar cells last a minimum of 10 years and could be used in many places where small batteries are necessary," explains Bhushan Patil.

After decades of faithful service, keeping remote controls alive, powering children's noisy toys, and helping us out in emergencies, our small cylindrical companions, AAA and AA batteries, may finally reach the end of the road. But let's be honest, even though we've had some good times together, time has moved on.

With the advent of solar cell technology and rechargeable batteries, our faithful AAs have found themselves on the wrong side of the energy transition. More environmentally friendly and economical alternatives have taken over their daily work. And will we miss the ever-shrinking power levels or the panicked search for spare batteries in a critical situation?

On the hunt for entrepreneurs
The new technology has been named 'Unplugged'. It has the potential to solve everyday minor but annoying battery problems and is on the way to fundamentally changing how we use and generate energy in our homes. So when will it be ready for the market?

"The technology is developed. We have a prototype. We can produce ca. 25 per day, but within a year, the plan is for production via roll-to-roll technology to churn out 5,000 per day. We need some entrepreneur types who want to join a startup with the technology right now."

Why don't you do it yourselves?

"We have already taken initial steps to establish a start-up as we are very close to bring this technology to the market. However, Professor Morten Madsen, who leads the solar cell group at SDU, and I are driven by research, not by marketing or running a business. Hence, we are currently seeking a co-founder with expertise in business development and/or marketing who can boost our commercialization efforts. Therefore, we hope that by spreading the news about the new technology, we will generate interest from people who want to help bring the technology to market," says Bhushan Patil.

The researcher and ideator behind the concept explains that he is not necessarily looking for an investor. The most important thing is to find one or more people who can see the potential and will help bring it to market.

"We have the idea, the production facilities, and the technical knowledge, but we just need an entrepreneur."

If you are an entrepreneur ready to say "rest in peace, small powerhouses" to our good old friends, the AA batteries, then maybe you are the one Bhushan Patil is looking for.

For more information about this exciting opportunity, don't hesitate to contact Bhushan Patil at

Editing was completed: 15.03.2024