Solar power with a view: Transparent luminescent solar concentrators

Researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a flat, clear surface.

 

Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials is not new. These past efforts, however, have yielded poor results — the energy production was inefficient and the materials were highly colored.

 

“No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” said Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science. “It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.”

 

The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight. “We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared,” he said.

 

The “glowing” infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells. “Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Lunt said.

Source: www.sciencedaily.com

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About tanialibraryquest

I am a drama/ history teacher and have just started a Masters of Education Teacher Librarian. I have been involved extensively in the arts, mostly in dance and theatre. I have worked in community theatre through federal arts funded projects and also worked with Ausdance National at National Youth Dance Festivals. I have worked in schools as an "outside professional", and decided to complete and Grad Dip Ed. I was very keen to work in drama in schools but have since gained a number of blocks as teacher librarian. I enjoy the dynamic nature of the work, team teaching, collaborating, management and developing relationships with students who access the library. I have done some renovating and re-organising of teaching areas. I am having a crash course in Oasis library catalogue and also technology! Looking forward to the masters and all it has to offer!
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