It was just a matter of time before the Elon Musk’s rooftop solar shingles triggered a flood of PV windows and rooftops technologies. Just a couple of months later, we are watching more and more people jumping into the field, which is not a bad thing at all! Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Milano-Bicocca have published their new research in the journal Nature Photonics where they have created high-tech silicon nanoparticles which are embedded into luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These nanoparticles are unique as they can increase the efficiency of the solar windows when compared to flat solar concentrators.
A mechanical engineering professor Uwe Kortshagen from the University of Minnesota talked about the design,
“In our lab, we ‘trick’ nature by shirking the dimension of silicon crystals to a few nanometers, that is about one ten-thousandths of the diameter of human hair. At this size, silicon’s properties change and it becomes an efficient light emitter, with the important property not to re-absorb its own luminescence. This is the key feature that makes silicon nanoparticles ideally suited for LSC applications.”
Photovoltaic windows and rooftops are pushing to be real game changers in the race to make cities renewable and sustainable. While solar panels were usually avoided due to space, aesthetics and cost issues; the modern glass offices can fit in the photovoltaic windows and roof tiles without changing the aesthetics of the building while meeting the structure’s electricity needs.
The silicon nanoparticles are produced using a plasma reactor which turns them into a powder. This creates flexible LSCs that efficiently capture up to five percent of the sun’s energy, which is more than any other solar technology available, till date.
The researchers claim that the silicon nanoparticles can be turned into commercially viable solar windows very soon and be brought into the photovoltaic market.
Would you prefer your buildings to be integrated with these PV windows and roof tiles?