Jul 042012
 

Such power-generating windows offer potential as a cheap source of solar energy

On 5 July Jan Willem Wiegman is graduating from TU Delft with his research into power-generating windows. The Applied Physics Master’s student calculated how much electricity can be generated using so-called luminescent solar concentrators. These are windows which have been fitted with a thin film of material that absorbs sunlight and directs it to narrow solar cells at the perimeter of the window. Wiegman shows the relationship between the colour of the material used and the maximum amount of power that can be generated.

Such power-generating windows offer potential as a cheap source of solar energy.

Wiegman’s research article, which he wrote together with his supervisor at TU Delft, Erik van der Kolk, has been published in the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

Windows and glazed facades of office blocks and houses can be used to generate electricity if they are used as luminescent solar concentrators. This entails applying a thin layer (for example a foil or coating) of luminescent material to the windows, with narrow solar cells at the perimeters. The luminescent layer absorbs sunlight and guides it to the solar cells at the perimeter, where it is converted into electricity. This enables a large surface area of sunlight to be concentrated on a narrow strip of solar cells.

The new stained glass

Luminescent solar concentrators are capable of generating dozens of watts per square metre. The exact amount of power produced by the windows depends on the colour and quality of the light-emitting layer and the performance of the solar cells. Wiegman’s research shows for the first time the relationship between the colour of the film or coating and the maximum amount of power.

Read more . . .

via Science Daily
 

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