'Energy-harvesting' clear glass created by Perth team
New technology developed in WA is making its mark on the solar energy market, becoming the world's first commercially viable clear, solar glass.
Developed at the Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) at Edith Cowan University, the glass contains special nanoparticles, with solar cells around its borders.
Director of the ESRI Kamal Alameh described it as a game changer for the industry.
"We call it energy-harvesting clear glass," Professor Alameh said.
"This is a glass that can pass the visible light through, while blocking the UV and infrared components of the sunlight and routing them to the edge of the glass for conversion to electricity via solar cells placed around the edges of the glass."
The energy-harvesting glass has already been used to build a self-sufficient bus shelter in Melbourne, with the company also in talks to test the product at Singapore Changi Airport.
And the team is also planning an advanced energy efficient glasshouse, to be built in the Perth area.
"This is a greenhouse that can pass the visible light needed for proper growth, or photosynthesis, while blocking unwanted radiations," Professor Alameh said.
"And then convert them to electricity where we can use them for water filtration, irrigation, heating and cooling inside the greenhouse."
Photo: Professor Kamal Alameh holds a small sample of the clear solar glass. (ABC News: Briana Shepherd)
The technology has been developed in collaboration with ClearVue technologies.
While it is not the first, or only, solar glass product on the market, ClearVue founder and chairman Victor Rosenberg said it was the first of its kind.
"Nobody actually has got clear glass," he said.
"They've got either lines or they've got dots, or looks like a chessboard with squares of solar panels on the glass.
"We are today, I would proudly say, the only commercial-size clear glass super building material producer."
One square metre of the glass can produce up to 30 watts of power.
With glass being one of the oldest and most versatile building materials, Mr Rosenberg said the new technology was advanced.
"It gives you daylight in which it lets the light through, it gives you solar control, thermal control, it's also safety glass and it gives you power," he said.
"It's been referred to by some major players as frontier technology.
"Others have called it a disruptive technology while a major university in the United States has referred to it as a smart-building material."
Developer calls for 'combined effort'
Mr Rosenberg said it was the development of the battery that had allowed the advancement in solar technology.
"The power is collected, it's stored in the batteries and then you draw off the batteries," he said.
"So you produce, you store, you draw and that's the way it should go."
The ultimate aim is to be completely off the grid, but Mr Rosenberg said it would take a combined effort of all emerging technology to make that happen.
"We should combine with other renewable technologies together," he said.
"No-one is strong enough to supply all the power, we should work with solar panels on the roof, plus on the windows, and other building materials that are energy efficient.
"We are causing a power revolution, we also need a design revolution, architects need to also change their design to incorporate the latest technologies." ~
Thanks to Mary Anne Glazar for sending me this.