New spray-on solar coating by Norwegian company EnSol AS hopes to make windows more than just the creepy eyes of your house by giving them the ability to help power what's inside.
Ah windows. Great to look out of, kind of necessary so that your home doesn't look totally weird, and useful if there's a breeze, but on days when it's blazingly hot and you can't leave the house (because of your crippling social anxeity or a more PC-friendly reason), they're a giant pain. No matter how many blinds you put down or fans you turn on, the sunlight streaming in the windows - single, double, or tri-paned - can easily make your home ten degrees hotter than it should be.
Enter the Norwegians, to the sound of deep-toned music. But instead of carrying swords and wearing pointy helmets, these noble northerners come bearing a new technology that they hope will revolutionize the way that windows work.
EnSol AS has just taken out a patent on their new technology, and in combination with the University of Leicester, they hope to get their stuff together for a commercial release in 2016.
From what we know of the technology so far, it uses metal nanoparticles in a transparent matrix that can then be sprayed on as a coating to windows. Using the photovoltaic effect, the sunlight captured by the transparent substance is then converted into direct current for homeowner use.
The Chamber Of Solar Coatings: The Magic Happens Here.
Writer's note: We really don't seek out nanoparticles. Really. It just seems that they come to us. Every second article seems to contain them, despite our best efforts. We swear. End note.
Right now, the team is working on getting their cell efficiency up over 20%, which would be required if they have any hope of a viable commercial application.
Granted, the windows are going to have to be closed for this to work, and you may have to actually live somewhere relatively sunny - sorry, Seattle - but the idea is a good one. Solar tech is the fastest-growing power source in the world, and while it still lags far behind traditional planet-destroying methods, it is on the up and up.
We see a window of opportunity here.
Source: PhysOrg via University of Leicester