see-through solar could turn windows, phones into power sources
And Miles bar (right), co-
The founders of ubiquitous energy are making transparent solar cells that can eventually be placed on everyday objects like mobile phones and windows so that these surfaces can generate energy.
Sultry people in the South
When facing the office in summer, you can see the flow of solar energy through the window.
In fact, there is no prestigious urban architect today who will design such a work space for an unhandled window to reduce the glare and heat of the sun.
But what if the window coating is better than blocking the sun?
What if this film could capture solar energy for lighting the office, running the computer, and most importantly starting the air conditioner?
That\'s the idea behind \"transparent\" Solar, a technology that startups want to bring to market in the US at least 20 years from now. S. government-
And university studies.
With the help of organic chemistry, transparent solar pioneers have begun to tackle one of the biggest setbacks of solar energy.
Although so far the Sun has the greatest potential in any energy resource available to human civilization, our ability to use this power is limited.
Photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof can be up to 20% efficient in converting sunlight into electricity.
Over time, research has improved the efficiency of solar panels.
But some scientists believe that in order to make real use of solar energy, we also need to expand the use of solar energy by making almost or completely visible cells. through.
\"It\'s a whole new way of thinking about solar power, because now you have a lot of potential surface area,\" said chief executive Miles Barr.
The founder of Silicon Valley startup Ubiquitous Energy, founded by researchers at MIT and Michigan State University.
\"You can use your imagination to the fullest.
We see that this is almost everywhere.
\"Transparent solar energy is based on the fact that elementary school professors have about light: The sun transmits energy in the form of invisible ultraviolet and infrared rays and visible light.
Solar cells designed only to capture light from the invisible end of the spectrum will allow all other light to pass through;
In other words, it looks transparent.
Organic chemistry is the secret to creating this material.
Simply take advantage of the simple components of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and some other elements found in all life on Earth, at least since the beginning of 1990, scientists have been working to design molecular arrays that can transmit electrons, in other words, to transmit current.
\"The beauty of organic chemistry is that there are a variety of materials to choose from,\" said Nikos Kopidakis, a senior American research scientist. S.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the Ministry of Energy (NREL)
Gold in Colorado.
\"The sky is the limit.
This is nothing, but we have a good understanding of the needs.
You can design the material to look green, blue, any other color or transparent to your eyes.
\"However, harvesting only the light that the sun cannot see means sacrificing efficiency.
That\'s why Kopidakis says his team is focused primarily on manufacturing opaque organic solar cells that also capture visible light, although they have partnered with a small private company in Maryland called \"solar window technology\" to develop transparent solar energy in the hope of extending the idea to the construction market.
The team at ubiquitous energy believes it has found the best recipe based on the USS. government-
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published supporting research in 2011.
\"There is often a direct trade-off between transparency and efficiency levels,\" said Barr . \".
\"With the approach we take, you can still get a lot of energy at a high level of transparency.
Companies everywhere are expected to achieve more than 10 percent less efficiency than silicon, but will be able to install more widely, Barr said.
\"There are millions of square meters of glass surfaces around us,\" said Barr . \".
Kopidakis pointed out that organic solar panels have another advantage compared to traditional silicon solar panels, which usually pass through high
The energy needed to make organic solar coatings is much less, and once manufacturing starts, the cost should be much lower.
\"You don\'t need a superhigh-
\"Vacuum chamber, you don\'t need to heat anything to 300 to 400 degrees,\" says Vacuum idakis . \".
Solar materials are deposited using a standard film coating process at ambient temperatures.
Ubiquitous engineers are building organic photovoltaic buildings that are 1,000 times thinner than human hair.
Shayle Kann, senior vice president of GTM Research market research, pointed out the cost advantage of the process in Reddit \"Ask me any questions\" earlier this month.
But he says it may be difficult for transparent solar companies to get enough capital to boost manufacturing because their products will be in trouble --
More efficient traditional panels.
The ubiquitous plan first proves its technology on a small scale, Barr said.
The company\'s pilot production facility in Redwood, California is currently working with mobile device manufacturers to design prototypes of smartphones, watches and other small electronics powered by ubiquitous technology.
We think the battery
Extending life and solving battery life problems will be a very good entry point for us . \"
When is transparent solar power uncertain --
What will be the price of mobile devices.
But the ubiquitous team does not expect the technology to significantly change the cost of mobile devices, Mr. Barr said.
Don\'t look for solar panels on your new Sun
If everything goes as smoothly as the company hopes, the solar material will become an invisible coating under the display glass of the device.
\"Ideally, it doesn\'t look like anything,\" said Barr.
\"This story is part of a special series to explore energy issues.
For more, please visit the huge energy challenges.