• Home Home

Startup develops 'maintenance-free' manufacturing process for battery-like cells that are powered by the sun: 'Installing our modules is as easy as sticking a plaster'

"We are ready to produce PV modules in high volume."

"We are ready to produce PV modules in high volume."

Photo Credit: Ribes Tech

Technology from Ribes Tech may eventually eliminate the need for people to keep a stock of batteries in their homes. 

As detailed by PV Magazine, the Italian startup has developed a manufacturing process for organic, super-thin energy-harvesting devices called organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules. These cells don't require the valuable minerals to operate that many batteries do, as they are made with organic materials and run on solar power.

If successful on a large scale, the venture could allow consumers to effortlessly charge low-power devices and save serious cash. According to a report by the Global Consumer Batteries Industry, people spent more than $45 billion on batteries worldwide in 2022. 

"They are completely maintenance-free, a so-called 'set & forget' solution that maximizes the light harvested from every direction," Ribes Tech manager of product development Francesca Scuratti told PV Magazine of an environmental sensor that integrated Ribes' OPV modules. 

Scuratti added that the company's modules have an efficiency conversation rate of 12% indoors when incorporated into electronics. As outlined by the U.S. Department of Energy, that percentage is higher than rates achieved by other types of organic photovoltaics. 

The technology could also reduce pollution created from the mining of minerals found in batteries, as well as cut down on hazardous waste. 

Battery recycling programs can help mitigate the issue, but as noted by the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans buy around 3 billion "dry-cell" batteries every year (these include the well-known AA and AAA types).  

On its official website, Ribes Tech explains that its energy harvesters are "extremely lightweight and flexible" and that "installing our modules is as easy as sticking a plaster." 

One of the applications is "a battery-free monitoring station for smart homes," potentially increasing the benefits of installing smart technology even further. 

Residences that are outfitted with smart features already save people more than $1,000, estimated over 10 years, while eliminating thousands of pounds of carbon pollution linked to an overheating planet and health concerns like asthma.

The startup, which was established in 2016, also says that it works with companies to design "custom harvesting" solutions. Contactless sensing to help prevent the spread of germs and anti-tamper labels are other featured innovations. 

At this stage, Ribes Tech is seeking funding to expand operations.

"Now we are looking for investments to support our next scale-up phase. We are ready to produce PV modules in high volume, like printing labels," Scuratti told PV Magazine. 

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider