For the past few years now energy generating windows have become increasingly popular, and this past summer InventorSpot blogger Doug Bonderud brought us a post about a transparent window film made by EnSol AS that converts sunlight captured by windows into electricity. All of these innovations have likely led to the latest development in our increasingly solar-powered world: a new, transparent spray film that promises to increase solar energy power by 300% and is 1/10 the thickness of current thin-films.
Researchers Apply New Energy's "SolarWindows" Coating to Commercial Glass for Generation of Electricity: Image via New Energy Technologies, Inc
Most of the traditional energy-generating windows we see currently cropping up are small, translucent squares, manufactured in a temperature controlled lab vacuum and are, not to mention, cumbersome and expensive to install. Current spray-films are rather thick and hardly transparent.
New Energy Technologies Inc. is developing the "first-of-its-kind" solar spray - SolarWindow enables see-through windows to generate electricity by 'spraying' their glass surfaces with New Energy's electricity-generating coating." The spray, intended for use in homes, offices, and commercial office buildings, utilizes the world's smallest available solar cells (smaller than 1/4 the size of a rice grain) to generate electricity by capturing energy from the UV rays. And because these cells are so miniscule and the film is so thin, the windows remain transparent. To give you an idea of how thin this thin-film really is: it's 1/1000th the thickness of human hair. No more unsightly photovoltaic roof panels (or perhaps just fewer).
New Energy Technologies' Latest Development, SolarWindows: Image via New Energy Technologies, Inc
The process involves the spraying of the product directly onto the windows using a mysterious, patent-pending method presented in AZoNano's Nanotechnology Though Leaders series. This process, however, does not require expensive high-temperature, high-vacuum production. New Energy claims the product can be sprayed onto windows at room temperature. What's more, the electricity can be generated from both natural and artificial light sources by "outperforming today's commercial solar and thin-film technologies by as much as ten-fold." Currently, New Energy is in the process of developing "potential application" for approximately 80 million single, detached homes as well as another 5 million commercial buildings.
"The importance of this breakthrough cannot be overstated," says Meetash V. Patel, New Energy's president and CEO. What really makes this a breakthrough is that before the development of SolarWindow, the traditional technology required the presence of an opaque metal that blocked all visibility, preventing light passage. By eliminating this material, transparent windows can remain transparent as well as generate electricity through solar power.
One Researcher Powers a Toy Helicoptor with a SolarWindow Prototype: Image via Inhabitat.com
Sources: Inhabitat and New Energy Technologies, Inc