TRANSPARENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGY REPRESENTS 'WAVE OF THE FUTURE'

TRANSPARENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGY REPRESENTS 'WAVE OF THE FUTURE'

Transparent solar materials that can be applied to windows represent a massive source of untapped energy and could harvest as much energy as the largest and most bulky solar roof units, scientists report today at Nature Energy.

Directed by engineering researchers from Michigan State University, the authors argue that the widespread use of such transparent solar applications, along with the roof units, could almost meet the demand for US electricity. UU. And drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels.

"Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications," said Richard Lunt, associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Johansen Crosby at MSU. "We analyze their potential and demonstrate that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices can provide a potential for generating electricity similar to that of solar energy on the roof while providing additional functionality to improve the efficiency of buildings, cars and devices mobile electronics. "

Lunt and his MSU colleagues pioneered the development of a transparent luminescent solar concentrator that, when placed in a window, creates solar energy without interrupting the view. The thin material, similar to plastic, can be used in buildings, car windows, cell phones or other devices with a transparent surface.

The solar collection system uses organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb the invisible wavelengths of sunlight. Researchers can "adjust" these materials to capture only the ultraviolet and near-infrared wavelengths that then convert this energy into electricity (see a demonstration of the process here).

Averting global energy consumption from fossil fuels will require innovative and cost-effective renewable energy technologies. Only about 1.5 percent of the demand for electricity in the United States and worldwide is produced by solar energy.


But in terms of overall electrical potential, the authors point out that there is an estimated 5 billion to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States. And with so much glass to cover, transparent solar technologies have the potential to supply about 40 percent of the energy demand in the US. UU., Approximately the same potential as the solar units on the rooftops. "The complementary deployment of both technologies," Lunt said, "could bring us closer to 100 percent of our demand if we also improve energy storage."

Lunt said highly transparent solar applications register efficiencies above 5 percent, while traditional solar panels typically have an efficiency of 15 to 18 percent. Although transparent solar technologies will never be more efficient in converting solar energy into electricity than their opaque counterparts, they can approach and offer the potential to apply to a much larger additional surface, he said.

At this time, transparent solar technologies are only about a third of their realists.

overall potential, added Lunt.























"That's what we're working for," he said. “Traditional solar applications have been actively investigated for more than five decades, however, we have only been working on these highly transparent solar cells for approximately five years. Ultimately, this technology offers a promising route for economic and widespread solar adoption on small and large areas that were previously inaccessible. 
Read the article here 

The work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education. UU.


Lunt's co-authors are Christopher Traverse, a PhD student in engineering at MSU, and Richa Pandey and Miles Barr with Ubiquitous Energy Inc., a company that Lunt co-founded with Barr to commercialize transparent solar technologies.


But in terms of overall electrical potential, the authors point out that there is an estimated 5 billion to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States. And with so much glass to cover, transparent solar technologies have the potential to supply about 40 percent of the energy demand in the US. UU., Approximately the same potential as the rooftop solar units. "The complementary deployment of both technologies," Lunt said, "could bring us closer to 100 percent of our demand if we also improve energy storage."

Lunt said highly transparent solar applications register efficiencies above 5 percent, while traditional solar panels typically have an efficiency of 15 to 18 percent. Although transparent solar technologies will never be more efficient in converting solar energy into electricity than their opaque counterparts, they can approach and offer the potential to apply to a much larger additional surface, he said.

At this time, transparent solar technologies represent only one third of their overall realistic potential, Lunt added.

"That's what we're working for," he said. “Traditional solar applications have been actively investigated for more than five decades, however, we have only been working on these highly transparent solar cells for approximately five years. Ultimately, this technology offers a promising route for economic and widespread solar adoption on small and large areas that were previously inaccessible. "

The work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education. UU.

Lunt's co-authors are Christopher Traverse, a PhD student in engineering at MSU, and Richa Pandey and Miles Barr with Ubiquitous Energy Inc., a company that Lunt co-founded with Barr to commercialize transparent solar technologies..

Growing Potential


But in terms of overall electrical potential, the authors point out that there is an estimated 5 billion to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States. And with so much glass to cover, transparent solar technologies have the potential to supply about 40 percent of the energy demand in the US. UU., Approximately the same potential as the rooftop solar units. "The complementary deployment of both technologies," Lunt said, "could bring us closer to 100 percent of our demand if we also improve energy storage."

Lunt said highly transparent solar applications register efficiencies greater than 5 percent, while solar panels


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