In about three years, you may be able to buy windows for your home that light up your rooms and your electronics. MIT researchers have revitalized a technology that was dropped in the ‘70s, and are making these windows actually work.
The researchers have developed a method of using dyes painted on to glass to redirect light to the edges of the windows where solar cells wait to collect the concentrated energy and convert it to electricity. The focused light increases by 40 times the electrical power obtained from each solar cell.
The technology is quite a bit different than other solar dye windows we’re seeing come out. The concentrator uses a mix of two or more dyes painted onto a pane of glass or plastic, where the dyes work together to suck up light of varying wavelengths, re-emitting them at a different wavelength across the pane to the solar cells fastened on the edges.
The fact that the solar cells are placed along the edges, and not covering the whole surface, dramatically reduces the prices of the windows and makes it possible for them to be practical – and pretty – for home owners. The dyes are actually off-the-shelf dyes used in car paints, making the windows even cheaper, and there is no need for the mirrors, lenses or trackers used in traditional solar concentrators.
These windows can help out the much debated fuggly factor of roof-top solar panels, or simply maximize the amount of electricity a house can generate should it be in a normally overcast location such as the UK or Seattle. The researching team thinks that adding these windows to existing solar panel systems can increase the systems’ efficiency by 50%, without taking much of a bite out of the home owner’s pocket book.
Considering how ridiculously expensive installing new windows in a home already is, I can imagine that many house and business building owners wouldn’t mind shelling out a little more to add a few of these to the sunny side of their homes and cut down on their electricity costs. Their only competition is the solar windows coming about a bit sooner. Just don’t let the kids playing baseball outside get too close.
written by gordon, July 14, 2008
written by The Food Monster, July 15, 2008
|< Prev||Next >|