The glass that covers buildings across North America and elsewhere could become a source of solar electricity if a technology currently under development becomes commercially viable.
A company that works to develop a solar type of technology that generates electricity on see-thru glass announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. NREL is one of the world’s most respected and advanced solar-photovoltaic research institutions.
New Energy Technologies is working on the commercial development of its SolarWindow and believes the deal takes it a step closer to the market.
“The addition of NREL’s world-class solar research group to our ongoing efforts at the University of South Florida marks a significant step forward for our Company and our SolarWindow(TM) technology,” said John A. Conklin, New Energy Technologies’ CEO and president.
Using the company’s intellectual property and NREL’s background intellectual property, NREL researchers will work to advance several aspects of SolarWindow, including efficiency and transparency, electric output, optimization of active layer coating, size increase, reliability and durability, among others.
“We’re always eager to help industry advance renewable energy breakthroughs towards commercial products. I welcome the opportunity to work with New Energy Technologies on the development of its SolarWindow technology,” stated Ryne Raffaelle, director of NREL’s National Center for Photovoltaics.
New Energy Technologies believes there is a huge market potential for its product as there are nearly five million commercial buildings in America and more than 80 million single detached homes.
Until now, the company has been working to replace what it calls “brittle and expensive” materials with easier to handle and low-cost liquid compounds. It said such replacements support the movement of electrons, which is one of the most important functions for generating electricity on glass surfaces of SolarWindow.
Previous tests managed to mobilize electrons necessary for generating electricity on prototypes with solution-based compounds produced without expensive starting materials. The compounds remained see-thru, were easy to handle and can be applied at room temperature and without the use of high-vacuum, pre-requisites for commercial manufacturing.
Besides SolarWindow, New Energy Technologies is developing MotionPower, which refers to roadway systems for generating electricity by capturing the kinetic energy produced by moving vehicles. This patent-pending technology is the subject of nine patent applications in the United States and two international patent filings. The idea is to tap into the energy potential of the 250 million registered vehicles that cover more than six billion miles in America on a daily basis.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, appearing courtesy Justmeans.