How your smart watch could soon be powered by small solar cells

Key Points
  • Today, a range of sources, from traditional fossil fuels to wind and solar are being used to power the planet.
  • In Jerusalem, one business wants to make photovoltaic technology an integral part of our day to day lives.
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How a host of technology could soon be powered by small solar cells

The world's energy mix is changing. Today, a range of sources, from traditional fossil fuels to wind, biofuels and solar are being used to power the planet.

One way of turning solar energy into electricity is through using solar photovoltaic technology. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) describes photovoltaics as being a "very modular technology" that can be rolled out in "very small quantities at a time." This means that systems can be small – used on calculators, for example – or large scale.

The impact of photovoltaic technology on the planet's energy mix is becoming increasingly important. According to the IEA, 2017 saw cumulative solar photovoltaic capacity hit nearly 398 gigawatts, producing more than 460 terawatt hours and accounting for roughly 2% of the planet's power output.

In Jerusalem, one business wants to make photovoltaic technology an integral part of our day to day lives. 3GSolar Photovoltaics develops dye solar cells that can power electronics using indoor fluorescent and LED lights.

The idea is that its solar cells, which are small-scale, can be embedded into electronic devices in the home.

While 3GSolar is yet to announce relationships with globally known brands, the company's technology is not restricted to theoretical applications.

Its photovoltaic cells have, for example, been used by Belgian business e-peas on Bluetooth low energy sensors. In June 2018, 3GSolar was named as one of three winners of a competition run by Israel Aerospace Industries-BEDEK, and is now working on a proof of concept project to integrate its photovoltaic technology on cargo tracking systems.

"Our product is a kind of energy device that can replace a conventional battery and remove the need for ever having to replace or recharge that battery in the lifetime of the device," Jonathan Goldstein, the company's president, told CNBC's "Sustainable Energy."

Another way the company's technology could prove beneficial is the fact it negates the need for batteries.

"Billions of batteries are being thrown away each year," Barry Breen, the CEO of 3GSolar, told CNBC. "And we provide the solution to that waste: no more throwing of batteries, disposing of batteries — no batteries," he added.