New trends in solar energy- Solar Paint

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Researchers, scientists, engineers and designers develop new products through photovoltaic paint

In SOLARNUB, matters relating to photovoltaic paint, draw our attention a great deal and are often part of the occasional topical discussion after a meal.

We are going to summarize some of the most notorious discoveries so you can have a clear and concise idea of this type of revolutionary products.

Photovoltaic paint through Mineral perovskite 

Over the last few years, we have been coming across news about the development of paints that generate photovoltaic energy, they come in two forms- spray and traditional paint. The difference is in the elements that are utilized to obtain it.

Architects, engineers, scientists, researchers and different universities have carried out very interesting projects in this field. In the United Kingdomthe University of Sheffield has opted to work on a spray (saving costs when applied in a pulverized form) that transforms the surfaces into solar energy panels thanks to a mineral called perovskite, which has the property to absorb the sun rays. Incredible, isn’t it?

Previously they had done tests with another spray that produced solar cells of organic silicon semiconductors, but this was more difficult to process, less cost-efficient and accessible than the perovskite.

The university has carried out different studies that showed a greater efficacy of the perovskite compared to silicon, with a 5% increase in efficiency combined with the cost-savings of the mineral itself and its abundance in numerous countries, render it a crucial element in the development of this type of products.

Photovoltaic paint from Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSC)

One of the discoveries that we liked most, was a paint that transforms the light like a coordinated laser converter.  This paint has some applications in the construction sector. In the words of Amador Menéndez Velázquez,  a researcher at Asturia’s Technological Institute of Materials (ITMA):

“We are very impressed. More and more sustainable solutions are being sought after in the construction and nanotechnology sector.”

The researcher pointed out during the last construction fair Rebuild in one of his talks. “We have to work on the energy return rate that is the energy returned on energy invested. […] For example, with our window of luminescent solar concentrators, an energy return of 40% would be achieved. […] This is why we are developing some paints that treat the light as a laser converter in a coordinated manner that is to say that the light is being trapped in the window and does not pass, thus it is used to generate energy. Moreover, these luminescent materials can direct the light in an effective manner in our homes.” (Source: Intermepresas article)

 

These have been tested in windows of 30×30 cm with good results and progress is already being made on the possibility of launching it to the market in the short term. We encourage Amador’s team to bring this endeavor to a success and hope that respectful brands and companies would express their interest in his discoveries.

 

Photovoltaic paint absorbing water vapor to produce hydrogen fuel

We have to confess that this field of research has surprised us a lot and it is no coincidence that the method has been studied in Australia, as the solar energy sector is rapidly growing Down Under.

Several scientists of the Royal Institute of Technology of Melbourne (RMIT) have developed a paint that could replace the photovoltaic panels.

How does it work?

The paint absorbs the sun’s rays and combined with the humidity from the air hydrogen fuel is produced. To this end, a number of vital elements have been used, such as the combination of titanium oxide nanoparticles with synthetic molybdenum disulfide, doesn’t this sound great? The latter captures the water vapor from the atmosphere and condenses it, the paint facilitates the breakdown into oxygen and hydrogen molecules and is recovered for use as a fuel in electrochemical cells or engines.

According to the head researcher of the project, Torben Daeneke, “simply the laying of this new material can turn a simple brick wall into a panel generating energy “, and the same applies to any type of surface. Wherever and onto whatever we can apply the paint, could be converted into an energy-generating surface. To us, this seems incredible and links up with our idea of being able to operate sources of clean and renewable energies for the use of all in the not too distant future.

If you found this article interesting, you will surely like Trends in Solar Energy: Solar Blinds

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