Friday, July 6, 2012

Power-Generating Windows Offer New Horizons for Office Energy Efficiency

For solar enthusiasts on limited budgets, rooftop panels are no longer the only way to produce clean electricity. Try all of the south-facing windows, instead.

According to a recent article in Science Daily, “New Insights Into Power-Generating Windows,” Jan Willem Wiegman will graduate from TU Delft with with an Applied Physics Masters and his research into power-generating windows. As a student, he calculated how much electricity can be generated using luminescent solar concentrators. Importantly, these are not costly new windows he’s talking about, just windows that are fitted with a thin film of material, which absorbs sunlight, then 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 might offer remarkable potential as an inexpensive source of solar energy that can attract many new renewable energy champions whose budgets have previously been restrictive in converting to solar energy.

For those wishing to dig deeper into the technology, Wiegman’s research article, written with his supervisor at TU Delft, Erik van der Kolk, has been published in the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

Urban office towers may be likely candidates for this energy generating application, as the majority of them feature more window square footage than what’s on the roof. More (


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