It’s a sunny time for solar power — and for good reason: it’s abundant, renewable, and sustainable. As the world is turning towards alternative energy sources, solar is the fastest growing renewable. In fact, it accounts for over half of the 302GW of renewable capacity installed internationally in 2021.
But there’s still a long way to go. And one sector that solar can have a seismic difference? Consumer tech.
Swedish deeptech startup Exeger entered this space in 2009, with the vision to harness solar energy for consumer electronics and make battery life woes a thing of the past.
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Now, 13 years later, the company counts more than 200 employees and has two solar cell factories in Stockholm, where it engineers and produces its patented hardware. Called Powerfoyle, the technology can be seamlessly integrated into existing devices, enabling them to transform indoor and outdoor light into virtually endless energy.
Currently, six products using Exeger’s technology have been commercialized. Three of them are solar-powered headphones: the Urbanista Los Angeles, the Urbanista Phoenix, and the Adidas RPT-02 Sol. The company has also integrated Powerfoyle into the Blue Tiger Solare communication headset, the POC Omne Eternal bike helmet, and the Spåra Hund, a self-powered dog harness.
From left to right: The Urbanista Phoenix, the Adidas RPT-02 Sol, and the Urbanista Los Angeles. Credit: Exeger
To find out how this all started, I spoke with Giovanni Fili, the company’s founder and CEO.
Having a 20-year background in entrepreneurship, over 20 years of commercialization experience , and more than 23 years working with clean tech, he told TNW that looking into the everyday applications of solar power felt like a natural step.
Giovanni Fili, Exeger’s founder and CEO. Credit: Exeger
“We started out with a nanotech invention, we made it into a component, and then we made a new solar cell from it,” Fili said.
“We realized after a few years that this had a huge potential because we can screen print this solar cell, which allows a free-form design with different shapes, colors, and textures. This, in turn, allows us to integrate Powerfoyle in existing products that are sold in billion units per year — giving them eternal battery life basically.”
Giovanni Fili holding a Powerfoyle strip. Credit: Exeger
Powerfoyle: a new kind of solar cell
Unlike typical solar cells, Powerfoyle is a silicon-free technology. Exeger has replaced silicon with titanium dioxide and reinvented what is called a Dye Sensitized Solar Cell (DSC). “This means that we have a color, a dye, which absorbs the light like artificial photosynthesis,” Fili explains.
In nature, chlorophyll is what enables photosynthesis, through which plants transform light energy into water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Likewise, Exeger’s dye can absorb the light from any angle under any light conditions, indoors or outdoors.
At the core of the DSC technology stands a unique conductive electrode material, which has replaced the commonly used and expensive Indium tin Oxide (ITO) layer.
Powerfoyle’s structure. Credit: Exeger
Powerfoyle’s chemistry and architecture result in a cell that’s not sensitive to partial shading — one of the …….