Enerthing solar foil: The alternative power supply for smart devices

Whether it is a matter of smart devices in the home, digital displays in the supermarket or tracking systems in the logistics sector: the demand for electronic components, sensors and small appliances is growing on the “Internet of Things”. All these devices need energy – in most cases they use disposable batteries. Enerthing GmbH from Cologne has developed a climate-friendly alternative: flexible and highly efficient solar foil, which could make batteries redundant in the future. In addition, an innovative production concept reduces high investment costs.

The carbon footprint of batteries is unfortunately not something to be admired: the depletion of lithium and the other raw materials needed for batteries requires substantial resources. In addition, batteries contain toxic waste materials such as quicksilver or lead to some extent and these pose a risk to people and the environment if disposed of in an inappropriate way. According to the German Federal Environmental Agency, it takes 40 to 500 times more energy to produce batteries than they actually provide when they are in use. What’s more, they are expensive: replacing a battery in industry costs between 20 and 100 euros, depending on where it is installed.

Engine for progress:

  • Innovative production concept using existing capacity
  • Cost-effective and climate-friendly alternative to batteries
  • Flexible and adaptable to various conditions

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Foto: Enerthing GmbH

Enerthing solar foil is a potential new method of replacing batteries, which are harmful to the climate, on the Internet of Things.

Simple production process

Organic photovoltaic foil presents a potential method of replacing batteries, meaning that electronic components and sensors are no longer reliant on these power sources that threaten the climate. Enerthing solar foil consists of a thin film of solar cells. These particularly thin solar cells are ideal for use indoors; they are extremely efficient and can absorb enough energy to power electronic devices even in poor light conditions or in artificial light. The production process is simple: the solar cells are pressed onto foil so that they are easy to bend and can be used in parts of buildings or in devices that are difficult to access. The efficiency level of this new technology is twice as high as that of previous solar cells – and production costs are halved. In the future, Enerthing solar foil is expected to be used on a wide scale in indoor areas, meaning that whole sectors will no longer be reliant on batteries.

Innovative production concept

In order to produce the solar foil, Enerthing has developed special modules and processes which are temporarily being used on machines from the paper-refining and foil-processing industries. The project is thus using available capacity and keeping investment costs in its own production machinery low. Enerthing solar foil can therefore be manufactured to meet demand and in line with the needs of the market. It is produced in what is known as the roll-to-roll process, which makes it especially cost-effective and permits high volume production. 

Photo: Dr. Michael Niggemann

“The strength of Enerthing’s solar foil lies in the fact that energy can be collected efficiently even in artificial light indoors and in shaded areas. This battery-free method of operation using Enerthing’s solar foil offers many advantages, in particular for devices such as sensors, transmitters and displays which are located in large numbers and often in inaccessible places in buildings and public spaces.”

Dr Michael Niggemann, Founder & Managing Director of Enerthing GmbH

Partners and sponsors

  • Enerthing GmbH