Have you ever imagine that the windows in your home can do something brilliant for you and the environment?
Researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles(UCLA) have developed a new kind of polymer solar cell that generate energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, making the cells nearly 70 per cent transparent to the human eye. The device is made from a photoactive plastic that converts infrared light into an electrical current, described by the UCLA team.
Yang Yang, a UCLA professor of materials science and engineering, who also is director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) said,
“These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications.”
According to the researchers, the new transparent cell works by harvesting solar energy from infrared instead of visible light. It does this by making use of a silver nanowire-metal oxide composite conducting film that’s almost transparent. The finish result is a new polymer solar cell you’ll be able to see through, but does have a slight effect on the visible light passing through it, significantly like the sunglasses or tinted glass does.
Currently, power-conversion efficiency of this PSC is just 4%, meaning the electricity generated would be considerably less than crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (30%), but their literal and figurative flexibility more than make up the difference. Unlike silicon cells, which will need a semiconductor fab, PSCs are highly easy to mass produce at low cost; you truly can basically producea big roll of PSC, unfurl it on your roof, and start out developing electricity immediately. “Or” you’re able to chop the PSC up into little pieces and begin laying out solar cells on everything, from car and home windows, to the back and front of your smartphone.
This is really brilliant invention and when the PSC being commercialized later I really hope that everyone in this world can afford to purchase them so that they can start generating free energy from their home and saving the environment at the same time.
References: UCLA Newsroom