The pollution and environmental risk factors that plague our planet every year have enabled science to develop technologies that can use renewable energy sources. Non-renewable, therefore exhaustible, have posed many problems for the terrestrial ecosystem over time. A group of researchers at Michigan State University appear to be well on their way to finding a technology capable of absorbing solar energy that can be applied on a large scale.
image credit: Michigan State University/YouTube
According to studies by researchers at Michigan State University , the transparent materials that make up the windows of homes are a huge source of energy that could be harnessed with the right technology. Engineering researchers at the university have succeeded in creating solar panels that could find an infinite number of architectural and energy applications. The research team has developed a transparent luminescent solar concentrator , also known as TLSC, which can be applied to any window or transparent surface.
This unit is able to absorb sunlight without affecting transmission, absorbing all those waves invisible to the human eye through special organic molecules . Richard Lunt, an engineer at Michigan State University College, says it’s possible to pick up ultraviolet and infrared waves, depending on how this material is tuned. The absorbed energy is then placed along the ends of the panels where there are strips of photovoltaic solar cells , which transform the whole into energy.
image credit: MSUToday/Michigan State University
This technology would be able to give the maximum of its fruits if it were applied to the windows of buildings. Combined with the photovoltaic units still applied above the roofs of buildings, it would almost meet the electricity needs of the United States, which would lead to a consequent reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels . Currently, these highly transparent solar applications guarantee an energy yield of between 1% and 5%, while conventional photovoltaic systems can reach values between 15% and 18%.
Although Lunt and his team are working to increase these values, they say it will be difficult to exceed the potential of conventional PV units . The much more realistic goal is to get closer to the data of its non-transparent counterparts and then apply it to much larger areas than for conventional panels. This technology opens up very interesting perspectives on the renewable energy front because it could be applied to any type of surface, large, small, static, or in motion … without compromising the passage of light to the lower mediums.
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