2018-06-28. Skyscrapers could soon generate their own power, thanks to see-through solar cells.

posted Jul 2, 2018, 3:02 PM by Alan Gould
By Robert F. Service, Science Magazine. For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: Lance Wheeler looks at glassy skyscrapers and sees untapped potential. Houses and office buildings, he says, account for 75% of electricity use in the United States, and 40% of its energy use overall. Windows, because they leak energy, are a big part of the problem. "Anything we can do to mitigate that is going to have a very large impact," says Wheeler, a solar power expert at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. A series of recent results points to a solution, he says: Turn the windows into solar panels. ...This week in Joule, a team led by Richard Lunt, a chemical engineer from Michigan State University in East Lansing, reports that it tuned the materials to develop a UV-absorbing perovskite solar window with an efficiency of 0.5%. ...Lunt says it's high enough to power another window technology: on-demand darkening glass that halts intense light in the heat of the day, thereby reducing a building's need for air conditioning. Lunt believes his team has a clear path to get to efficiencies of 4% in the next few years. At that rate, the cells could power some of the building's lighting and air conditioning. At the other end of the spectrum is infrared light, which strikes Earth's surface more intensely than UV light and can therefore generate more electricity. Last year, in Nature Energy, Lunt's team reported it had made transparent, UV- and infrared-absorbing cells with efficiencies of 5%, using "organic" photovoltaics—thin film sandwiches of organic semiconductors and metals.... http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/skyscrapers-could-soon-generate-their-own-power-thanks-see-through-solar-cells