Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Solar cell turns windows into generators

Abstract:
Imagine a world where the windows of high-rise office buildings are powerful energy producers, offering its inhabitants much more than some fresh air, light and a view.

For the past four years a team of researchers from Flinders University has been working to make this dream a reality - and now the notion of solar-powered windows could be coming to a not too distant future near you.

Solar cell turns windows into generators

Adelaide, Australia | Posted on March 20th, 2012

As part of his just-completed PhD, Dr Mark Bissett (pictured) from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences has developed a revolutionary solar cell using carbon nanotubes.

A promising alternative to traditional silicon-based solar cells, carbon nanotubes are cheaper to make and more efficient to use than their energy-sapping, silicon counterparts.

"Solar power is actually the most expensive type of renewable energy - in fact the silicon solar cells we see on peoples' roofs are very expensive to produce and they also use a lot of electricity to purify," Dr Bissett said.

"The overall efficiency of silicon solar cells are about 10 per cent and even when they're operating at optimal efficiency it could take eight to 15 years to make back the energy that it took to produce them in the first place because they're produced using fossil fuels," he said.

Dr Bissett said the new, low-cost carbon nanotubes are transparent, meaning they can be "sprayed" onto windows without blocking light, and they are also flexible so they can be weaved into a range of materials including fabric - a concept that is already being explored by advertising companies.

While the amount of power generated by solar windows would not be enough to completely offset the energy consumption of a standard office building, Dr Bissett said they still had many financial and environmental advantages.

"In a new building, or one where the windows are being replaced anyway, adding transparent solar cells to the glass would be a relatively small cost since the cost of the glass, frames and installation would be the same with or without the solar component," Dr Bissett said.

"It's basically like tinting the windows except they're able to produce electricity, and considering office buildings don't have a lot of roof space for solar panels it makes sense to utilise the many windows they do have instead."

Dr Bissett said the technology mimics photosynthesis, the process whereby plants obtain energy from the sun.

"A solar cell is created by taking two sheets of electrically conductive glass and sandwiching a layer of functionalised single-walled carbon nanotubes between the glass sheets," he said.

"When light shines on the cell, electrons are generated within the carbon nanotubes and these can be used to power electrical devices."

Although small prototypes have been developed in the lab, he said the next step would be to test the carbon cells on an "industrial stage".

If all goes to plan, the material could be on the market within 10 years.

"When we first started the research we had no idea if it would work because we were the first in the world to try it so it's pretty exciting that we've proved the concept, and hopefully it will be commercially available in a few year's time," Dr Bissett said.

Dr Bissett is a winner of Flinders inaugural Best Student Paper Award, a now annual program which aims to recognise excellence in student research across the University.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Flinders University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

'Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology' Lecture at Brookhaven Lab on Wednesday, April 30: Biomedical Engineer James Collins to Speak for BSA Distinguished Lecture Series April 16th, 2014

ECHA Planning Workshop on Regulatory Challenges in the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials April 16th, 2014

Lumerical files a provisional patent that extends the standard eigenmode expansion propagation technique to better address waveguide component design. Lumericalís EME propagation tool will address a wide set of waveguide applications in silicon photonics and integrated optics April 16th, 2014

Nanotubes/Buckyballs

Effects of Carbon Nanotubes Studied on Pregnant Mothers April 12th, 2014

Nanotech Business Review 2013-2014 April 9th, 2014

Scientists Succeed in Simultaneous Determination of Acetaminophen, Codeine in Drug Samples April 9th, 2014

Rebar technique strengthens case for graphene: Rice University lab makes hybrid nanotube-graphene material that promises to simplify manufacturing April 7th, 2014

Discoveries

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Scientists observe quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass: A team including MIPT physicist observed quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass April 16th, 2014

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Announcements

UT Arlington physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy April 16th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

Energy

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage April 15th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun ó even when itís not shining April 15th, 2014

Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives: Research enhances understanding of materials interfaces April 14th, 2014

Home

Scientists watch nanoparticles grow: Analysis allows tailoring materials for switchable windows and solar cells March 27th, 2014

Brighter inks, without pigment: Nanostructured capsules could bring about paints and electronic displays that never fade March 14th, 2014

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Completes On Site Visit by PCAOB Audit Firm - Nears Completion of Audit in Preparation for Move to a Senior Stock Exchange in Late 2014 February 27th, 2014

UCF Researcher Bringing 3-D TV Back From The Dead February 12th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun ó even when itís not shining April 15th, 2014

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells: Photovoltaic solar-panel windows could be next for your house April 14th, 2014

Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives: Research enhances understanding of materials interfaces April 14th, 2014

Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities April 12th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE