Turn Windows into Solar Panels with a new See-through film

Author James Mash 21.8.2014. | 14:31

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A new film developed by a team of chemical engineers lets in light when placed over a window but it also harness the sun to create solar power.

A team from Michigan State University has come up with this luminescent solar concentrator which could be deployed on buildings in the future, turning their vast amount of windows in to solar panels.

Previous attempts to develop transparent solar panels have all failed to deliver enough energy to make them worthwhile but thanks to the recent work of this Michigan team things could be about to change.

The team believes they can tackle this hurdle by exploiting the excitonic nature of organic luminescent salts which can absorb near infrared (NIR) energy. This technique will provide a new route to more aesthetically pleasing ways of harvesting light and can easily be deployed in energy capturing windows.

“We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared,” commented Lunt. “Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye.”

At the moment the conversion efficiency has a long way to go. The Michigan Teams conversion efficiency is currently only one percent while the closest colored film competitor has a conversion efficiency of 7 percent and opaque solar cells reach 12 percent. The team are now striving to obtain a 5 percent efficiency and believe the opportunities of this new technology could allow any clear suffice and in doing so turn a table, smart phone or tablet into a solar harvesting device.

The Michigan team is not alone on this quest and there is stiff competition from German solar Company Heliatek and also from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

If you can’t wait until then an want to join the green revolution why not check out the wide range of solar powered charges and power banks at Chinavasion. You can read more about this development on the Wired website or learn more about the science on the Wiley Online Library

Author James Mash 21.8.2014. | 14:31
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