Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Coming to a Handbag Near You
Image via G24i
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are super thin, cheap solar cells that can operate indoors. Created by G24 Innovations, the first batch of the new solar cells have found a home in fashion, heading to Hong Kong-based consumer electronics bag manufacturer Mascotte Industrial Associates for use in backpacks and bags. And the best part...the bags aren't ugly. G24 Innovations is happy to announce that their solar cells are going into fashionable bags for gadget geeks. The bags will be able to charge up devices like cell phones, e-readers, and personal digital assistants.
The cells are light and bendable, making them ideal for canvas bags. According to the bag manufacturing company, Mascotte, under sunny conditions, it takes about 4-5 hours to fully charge a cell phone using a 15cm by 20cm solar panel, and indoors, takes as many as 12 hours, depending on the lighting. That's not too bad, especially since a bag has the potential to charge even in low-light conditions. The efficiency isn't as high as solar cells that use silicon; however, they're cheaper and easier to manufacture, and that price can be passed on to the consumer.
And while the flexibility of the solar cells is more desirable than rigid cells often used in bags, it makes them 5-10% more expensive. Hartnett said the solar-equipped knapsacks and business travel bags are to be priced around $100 to $300 each. While it seems pricey, the bags are only between $25 and $40 more expensive than regular bags and you get to charge your gadgets. Seems reasonable.
G24 is hoping to make the bags obsolete, though. "In the future, our product will become smaller, and it will change from being around the electronic device to on it and eventually inside it, displacing plastics, springs and coils associated with batteries," said John Hartnett, CEO of the company.
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