Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into power-generating windows

Date:
July 3, 2012
Source:
Delft University of Technology
Summary:
Researchers have calculated how much electricity can be generated using power-generating windows, so-called luminescent solar concentrators. These are windows which have been fitted with a thin film of material that absorbs sunlight and directs it to narrow solar cells at the perimeter of the window. New research shows the relationship between the color of the material used and the maximum amount of power that can be generated. Such power-generating windows offer potential as a cheap source of solar energy.

Power generating windows.
Credit: Eric Verdult

On 5 July Jan Willem Wiegman is graduating from TU Delft with his research into power-generating windows. The Applied Physics Master's student calculated how much electricity can be generated using so-called luminescent solar concentrators. These are windows which have been fitted with a thin film of material that absorbs sunlight and 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.

Related Articles


Such power-generating windows offer potential as a cheap source of solar energy.

Wiegman's research article, which he wrote together with his supervisor at TU Delft, Erik van der Kolk, has been published in the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

Windows and glazed facades of office blocks and houses can be used to generate electricity if they are used as luminescent solar concentrators. This entails applying a thin layer (for example a foil or coating) of luminescent material to the windows, with narrow solar cells at the perimeters. The luminescent layer absorbs sunlight and guides it to the solar cells at the perimeter, where it is converted into electricity. This enables a large surface area of sunlight to be concentrated on a narrow strip of solar cells.

The new stained glass

Luminescent solar concentrators are capable of generating dozens of watts per square metre. The exact amount of power produced by the windows depends on the colour and quality of the light-emitting layer and the performance of the solar cells. Wiegman's research shows for the first time the relationship between the colour of the film or coating and the maximum amount of power.

A transparent film produces a maximum of 20 watts per square metre, which is an efficiency of 2%. To power your computer you would need a window measuring 4 square metres. The efficiency increases if the film is able to absorb more light particles. This can be achieved by using a foil that absorbs light particles from a certain part of the solar spectrum. A foil that mainly absorbs the blue, violet and green light particles will give the window a red colour. Another option is to use a foil that absorbs all the colours of the solar spectrum equally. This would give the window a grey tint. Both the red and the grey film have an efficiency of 9%, which is comparable to the efficiency of flexible solar cells.

Wiegman's research has also shown the importance of a smooth film surface for the efficient transport of light particles to the perimeter of the window as they are then not impeded by scattering between the film and the window surface.

The research into power-generating windows is in keeping with the European ambition to make buildings as energy neutral as possible. Luminescent solar concentrators are a good way of producing cheap solar energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Delft University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.W.E. Wiegman, E. van der Kolk. Building integrated thin film luminescent solar concentrators: Detailed efficiency characterization and light transport modelling. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2012; 103: 41 DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2012.04.016

Cite This Page:

Delft University of Technology. "New insights into power-generating windows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703161528.htm>.
Delft University of Technology. (2012, July 3). New insights into power-generating windows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703161528.htm
Delft University of Technology. "New insights into power-generating windows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703161528.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins