Renewable energy breakthrough converts light into electricity
Looking through glass that charges your car
Developed by tech start-up Physee, a spin-off from Holland’s Technical University of Delft, windows covered with a transparent luminescent coating to convert 30% of light normally reflected from the surface into invisible light is collected and converted via solar cell strips inside the window frame.
The light travels through the glass into the window frame where solar cells convert it into electricity.
Dutch Bank Trials
In a move that could revolutionise renewable power generation worldwide, Dutch ‘Rabobank’ are installing the world’s first fully-transparent solar power-generating windows. With commercial buildings responsible for 40% of global electricity consumption, the main target is their renovation and construction.
Economic efficiency beats PV
With one square metre of glazing able to produce circa 20 to 45 watts of electricity (about seven times less power than a regular solar panel) the windows are roughly 10 times cheaper making them more cost efficient overall.
Energy Neutral Buildings
According to company co-founder Willem Kesteloo, most office buildings are limited to installing solar panels. PowerWindows are therefore a complementary solution to help create energy-neutral buildings without compromising the surroundings in terms of functionality or design. Costs are expected to reduce further in line with the cost of solar panels because these windows use the same solar cell strips, which are the main cost driver.
Total Internal Reflection
Kesteloo started the company with Ferdinand Grapperhaus in 2014 while studying at Delft Technical University, where the pair developed the transparent luminescent coating. The coating works based on the principle of total internal reflection, used in optic fibres, by only allowing reflected light to scatter in one direction, to the sides of window.
Additional market segments being explored include panoramic roofs in electric cars, and windows in planes and trains.
Read more about PowerWindows
Low Energy Buildings
Expected to be commercially available in a couple of years, power generating windows like this will greatly improve our ability to deliver more autonomous style low energy building. As the energy performance of these improves, so the need for electricity reduce.