A solar cells with semitransparent that could be incorporated to the glass of the windows would be a revolution that could transform the architecture, urban planning and the generation of electricity, say australian scientists in an article published in the magazine Nano Energy.
The researchers, led by professor Jacek Jasieniak from the University of Monash, have been able to produce solar cells perovskite of new generation that generate electricity while allowing light to pass through. They are now investigating how the new technology could be incorporated into commercial products with Viridian Glass, the largest glass manufacturer in Australia.
This technology will transform windows into generators of active power, revolutionizing potentially the design of the buildings. Two square meters of solar window, say the researchers, will generate as much electricity as a solar panel standard roof.
The research was also supported by the Australian Agency for Renewable Energy (ARENA).
The idea of the solar cells semi-transparent is not new, but previous designs had failed because they were very expensive, unstable or inefficient.
Professor Jasieniak and his colleagues in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from Monash and research agency national of Australia, CSIRO, used a different approach.
Used a organic semiconductor that can be converted into a polymer and used it to replace a component of solar cells in common use (known as Spiro-OMeTAD), which shows a stability very low, because it develops a watery layer is not useful. The substitute produced amazing results.
A solar cell of perovskite semi-transparent with levels contrasting transparency of light. (Photo: Dr Jae Choul Yu)
“A solar roof has a conversion efficiency of between 15 and 20 per cent,” said Jacek. “The cells to be semitransparent, have a conversion efficiency of 17%, while still transmitting more than 10% of the incoming light, so you are right in the area. It has been a dream for a long time have windows that generate electricity, and now that seems possible.”
The co-author and research scientist of the CSIRO, Dr Anthony Chesman, said the team is now working on the extension of the manufacturing process.
“We will seek to develop a process for the manufacture of glass on a large scale that can be easily transferred to industry so that manufacturers can adopt the technology easily,” he said.
The windows solar will be a great help for the owners and residents of the buildings, and will bring new challenges and opportunities for architects, builders, engineers and planners.
“There is a compensation”, explained the professor Jasieniak, “solar cells can be made more or less transparent. The more transparent they are, the less electricity they generate, so that it becomes something that architects must consider.”
He added that the windows are solar tinted in the same degree that the current windows commercial glass would generate about 140 watts of electricity per square meter.
It is likely that the first application is in multi-storey buildings.
The large windows installed in buildings of great height are expensive to make. The additional cost of incorporating solar cells semi-transparent in them will be marginal.
“But even with the extra expense, the building gets its electricity for free!”, the professor said Jasieniak.
“These solar cells mean a big change in the way we think about buildings and their operation. Until now, each building has been designed under the assumption that the windows are fundamentally passive. Now will actively electricity. Planners and designers could even have to reconsider the way in which orient buildings to optimize the way in which the walls trap the sun”.
The lead author, Dr. Jae Choul Yu, adding that he would gain more efficiency gains with more research.
“Our next project is a device in tandem,” he said. “We will use solar cells with perovskite as the bottom layer and cells organic solar as the upper layer”.
As to when to come on the market the first solar cell semi-commercial, “that will depend on the success of the expansion of the technology, but our goal is to reach it in a period of 10 years,” the professor said Jasieniak.
Jatin Khanna, Director of Operations at Viridian Glass, he added: “The development of these windows, solar presents an opportunity that could translate to put in place new innovations and technologies of the glass”. (Source: NCYT Amazings)