Kyushu University: Kyushu U and Ricoh jointly develop a thin, light, bendable organic photovoltaic (OPV)

The demand for the Internet of Things (IoT) is on the rise throughout society. Now, Ricoh’s flexible energy harvesting device efficiently generates power indoors or in shaded areas as a stand-alone power source for the constant operation of a variety of sensors. In September, Ricoh will start sample shipments of these devices.

The flexible energy harvesting device, sized 41mm by 47mm, uses a unique power generation organic photovoltaic (OPV) material developed jointly from 2013 in an industry-academia collaboration with Kyushu University. The result is efficient power generation in low-light environment, such as indoors (approximately 200 lx), and medium-light such as shaded outdoor areas (approximately 10,000 lx). In addition, the thin, lightweight, and bendable film can be mounted on IoT devices of various shapes.

These devices can be used as stand-alone power sources for mobile and portable wearable terminals, beacons, and is ideal for social infrastructure monitoring devices, such as ones installed in tunnels and under bridges. This will make it unnecessary to replace batteries in a wide variety of small consumer electronic devices, which is expected to improve convenience and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal “Affordable and Clean Energy”. Since the release of solid-state dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) for indoor use in 2020, Ricoh aims to expand its product lineup as soon as possible by providing samples to IoT device manufacturers, service providers, and trading companies as the next environmental power generation device.

Kyushu University and Ricoh will continue to collaborate on research and development* to achieve even higher output and durability.

* This research and development have been supported by JST’s “Adaptable and Seamless Technology transfer Program through target-driven R&D (A-STEP)” “Functional Innovation and Practical Technology Development of Organic Energy Harvesting Devices.”

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