Nissha Printing Co Ltd announced Sept 12, 2012, that it has developed a lighting apparatus using dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) and started to sell it.
The lighting apparatus, "Akarie," stores electricity generated with the DSSCs during daylight hours in a rechargeable battery. And the electricity is used to power an LED lamp during nighttime hours. This is the first time that a DSSC developed and manufactured in Japan has been commercialized. Ohsho Food Service Corp, which is known for its dumpling restaurants, has already employed the Akarie and installed it at a newly-opened restaurant.
Akarie can be charged in 2 hrs, used for 15 hrs
The Akarie is made by using DSSCs on the top of a case that measures 200 x 200 x 85mm and weighs 3.7kg and placing a rechargeable battery and LEDs inside the case. When placed outdoors in a clear day, the battery can be charged in about two hours. And the LED lamp can be continuously lit for 15 hours. The brightness of the LEDs is about 10cd. Nissha Printing plans to sell the lighting apparatus for ¥200,000 (US$2,576, excluding tax).
The "EneLeaf," which is the DSSC module used for the Akarie, was co-developed by Nissha Printing and the Shimane Institute for Industrial Technology. Its conversion efficiency is 4.0-6.7%.
Akarie embedded in pavement
Ohsho Food Service employed the Akarie for its restaurant that was opened Aug 17, 2012, in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Specifically, it embedded the apparatus in the pavement in front of the restaurant as a design-oriented lamp that does not require an external power supply.
In addition, Nissha Printing will start a field test of the EneLeaf with help from Ohsho Food Service and Kyoto City. More than 100 units of the EneLeaf module measuring 12 x 12cm will be embedded in the walls of Ohsho Food Service's restaurant in Kyoto and will be used as power-generating panels.
Furthermore, Nissha Printing and Kyoto City will use DSSCs for lamps that do not require an external power supply and will be installed in the Okazaki area of Kyoto City. They will examine the design, durability and other characteristics of the lamps by using DSSC technologies under development including new materials.