Friday, July 11, 2008

We Can Build It

Imagine windows that not only provide a clear view and illuminate rooms, but also use sunlight to efficiently help power the building they are part of. MIT engineers report a new approach to harnessing the sun's energy that could allow just that.

Part of my responsibilities at the electric utility I work at is to follow new developments in photovoltaics and other solar conversion strategies. And although this idea has been around for a while, this one from MIT holds a lot of promise in my estimation.

Solar panel windows are latest weapon against global warming

Windows could be turned into solar panels using a new technology which could slash the cost of making electricity from sunlight.

The Telegraph
By Laura Clout

The technique involves painting the glass with a transparent, organic dye to absorb and transport light to photovoltaic (PV) cells in the window frame, which convert it to electricity.

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston claim the system could generate ten times more power than a PV cell alone. It could also substantially reduce the cost of generating solar power, because the expensive cells need only be mounted around the edge of the panels.

Traditional panels use mobile mirrors to track the sun and focus the rays onto a solar cell, but the moving parts are expensive.

The MIT team found that by using specific combinations of dye, which each absorb a different wavelength of light, they could avoid light being lost as it travelled to the solar cells at the edge.
Electrical engineer Marc Baldo, who lead the team, said the 'solar concentrator’ system is simple to manufacture and could be implemented within three years.

The materials also can be added to existing solar panels. "We think this is a practical technology for reducing the cost of solar power," he said. "

According to the MIT fact sheet on the development:

"Our devices are based on a concept from the 1970's that was largely abandoned: the luminescent solar concentrator (LSC). Our version of this device consists of a piece of transparent glass or plastic plate with a thin film of dye molecules deposited on the face and inorganic solar cells attached to the edges. Light is absorbed by the dye coating and reemitted into the glass or plastic for collection by the solar cells. "

Imagine if every window in a skyscraper was a solar concentrator.

Now imagine a global effort to do exactly that.

Imagine a world powered by the light that surrounds us.

A Global Photonic Energy Web.

If we imagine it.

We can build it..



Blogger respectisthehub said...


8:36 PM  

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