ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Technology

Ricoh develops new solar cell that boasts 20% higher output

Technology can generate electricity from room lights and at cold temperatures

Ricoh's new solar cell can generate electricity even in transparent panels. (Photo by Ryosuke Eguchi) 

TOKYO -- Ricoh has developed a new solar cell that has a 20% higher maximum power output than its current product and can generate electricity from room lights or less.

As the cell can operate at subfreezing temperatures, it can be used in refrigerator sensors and for a variety of other purposes. Ricoh plans to start selling the product in late May, targeting plants and distribution warehouses, among other customers.

The company plugged into the solar cell business using its vaunted multifunction printer technology in 2020 and is seeking to make the business profitable by fiscal 2023, which ends in March 2024.

For one of the new solar cells measuring 5 by 8 cm, the maximum power output is 276 microwatts. A microwatt is one-millionth of a watt.

The cells can operate in temperatures from minus 30 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees, both colder and hotter than conventional products' range of zero to 50 degrees.

Ricoh expects that the new solar cell will be used to power sensors inside high-temperature plants and low-temperature distribution warehouses.

An increasing number of companies are acquiring data in real time from sensors on production lines or in the distribution process in order to make their manufacturing operations more efficient and improve the quality of their products.

In the past, button cells have been used as power sources for many sensors. But with the increase in the number of sensors due to the proliferation of the Internet of Things -- meaning practically everything is connected through the internet -- the trouble of having to replace all those batteries has become an issue.

Ricoh's dye-sensitized cell can generate electricity even in nearly dark places using the slightest light available.

Based on the photoconductor technology it uses for multifunction printers, Ricoh made it possible to generate electricity efficiently without using liquid electrolytes. There is nothing to spill, and the new solar cell can operate for a long time.

As the cell can be embedded in transparent panels and still generate electricity, Ricoh intends to expand the use of the new product to purposes other than powering sensors in the future.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more