Scientists joked that coffee could give solar panels an energy boost and it worked

By Shannon Sweeney — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

Caffeine helps solar panels run more efficiently 

Coffee keeps us running every day, and it helps us when we need a major energy boost. And soon, coffee could be doing the same thing for the energy industry. 

A recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles and scientists at Solargiga Energy said caffeine could be a viable replacement for materials in solar cells. Solar cells are used to convert light energy into electricity and found in solar panels. 

Solar panels haven't reached their peak performance yet because they don't absorb all the solar energy that the sun provides. But that's where caffeine can help. 

Researchers joked about using coffee to make solar panels run more efficiently. Well, jokes on them because it worked. They found that caffeine is very similar to other materials used in the perovskite, which helps solar panels absorb more light and increase their efficiency. 

When researchers then added caffeine to a solar panel, they saw that there was a great "molecular bond" between the perovskite layer and caffeine. 

Solar cells with caffeine bonds were tested in comparison to normal solar cells in a stability test.  The stability test included both types of solar cells being placed inside a solution that simulates the environment they will be in, which was at a normal body temperature for a human (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). 

The stability test included that caffeine solar cells maintained 86 percent of their original state, while the controlled solar cell group only maintained 60 percent. This result is because caffeine increased the panel's heat resistance and overall thermal efficiency. Pretty neat, huh? 

So when you say your house runs on coffee, you can literally mean it (if you use solar power, that is).

While caffeine only proved to be efficient on perovskite solar panels, it's still a crazy improvement that researchers will keep studying. And any studies that involve caffeine will always pique my interest. 

Related: Here's what caffeine looks like under a microscope


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