Many claims have been made in the past regarding energy harvesting glass. None I am aware of are actually clear like a normal window. The power out put (30 watts per square metre) and capital cost unknown at this stage. However it is a step in the right direction.
Solar cells around its borders
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.”
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.
This new development in converting unwanted radiation into electricity will be a huge cost saver in green houses. The energy harvested is used to power its structure, for example providing heating, cooling, light and water irrigation. With the presence of underground water it will generate agricultural production and produce crops in areas that may be too hot or too cold.
“We hope to end up with self-sustainable greenhouses that doesn’t need the power from the grid, and then it can be producing its own energy to produce the maximum or a good crop yield,” explained Kamel Alameh to the ABC.
“ESRI have successfully made a prototype, making my dream and reality come true,” admits ClearVue’s chairman Victor Rosenberg. “The energy revolution will change the way we generate and use power. Energy and design must work hand in hand”.
How Intelligent Glass Works
Intelligent glass has three main characteristics:
- It allows light to pass through
- It has superior insulation properties
- Produces electricity
- The sunrays enter the window and greater then 70% of visible light passes through.
- A spectral selective coating reflects the ultra violet and infrared rays back into the interlayer that has nanoparticles.
- These specialised nanoparticles direct the ultra violet and infrared rays (waste products) to the edge of the glass where they are collected into electricity.
Just like the solar panels on roofs this power can be used on site or can be fed back into the grid. Anywhere the glass faces the sun will be a source of power and most importantly the glass is perfectly clear. Existing solar panels have limitations, only producing power when the sun shines and they also block out visible light. This new age of development has been referred to ‘Disrupted Technology’.
This new technology will be invaluable in glasshouses where there is a large glass area, which relies on maintaining an even temperature for optimal growing conditions. Intelligent Glass provides the light, the insulation and the power to aid in this production. There has been a rapid investment in horticulture for food security and safety with the intensions to reduce the amount of pesticides, fungicides and any other chemicals that are consumed from most of our foods on a daily bases.
Chairman Victor Rosenberg explains that glass would provide farmers “security and safety of produce” and reduce the need for chemicals.
An experiment was carried out where Intelligent Glass was shipped to Canada and South Africa to collect data from both hemispheres proven that these greenhouses are suited for diverse climates.
The Future for Intelligent Glass
Intelligent Glass is not only a design resolution for glasshouses, it will also be used in high-rise building and even our cars, which will have advanced properties like safety and shatterproof glass.
“In a world where we all want to leave a smaller carbon footprint, intelligent glass is a major step forward. By combining Intelligent Glass into our energy and design revolutions a clear, smarter tomorrow is not only possible but it is inevitable”, states Victor Rosenberg.
Source and full story: