There are those who call him organic photovoltaics or who more simply, transparent photovoltaic. It is the result of an innovation born in the laboratories of the Michigan State University where researchers have developed a very thin layer of organic photovoltaics that does not alter the brightness that passes through it so as to be, in life, totally transparent.
The work carried out by researchers at the Michigan State University could have enormous 360 ° repercussions on all markets, from hitech to transport, completely disrupting the world of construction.
Transparent photovoltaics in green building
In the green building sector, the windows of skyscrapers could turn into huge panels capable of generating clean electricity. To understand the importance of this potential implication in green building, just think of the efforts that developers and companies are currently implementing in the BIFV sector (Building Integrated PhotoVoltaic,architecturally integrated photovoltaic). Furthermore, the transparent photovoltaic it could be introduced without problems even in areas of particular landscape value.
Transparent photovoltaics in the consumer technology sector
Smartphones, tablets, media players, portable consoles and notebooks could self-feed with the application of a layer of organic photovoltaics directly on the backlit display. Portable devices would no longer have low battery problems.
Organic photovoltaics in the transport sector
The autonomy of electric cars and the efficiency of hybrid engines linked to the accumulation of electricity are burning issues that could cool down with the integration of a layer of organic photovoltaics on the glass surfaces of cars.
Not all glass surfaces in cars are suitable for a layer of organic photovoltaics; the most suitable surface is that of the rear window which has the most propitious inclination to accommodate the sun's rays.
The side windows are too vertical so they would not have a good yield in terms of production. The most immediate application that springs to mind is the front windshield, in fact this surface would be ideal for both inclination and extension but imposes high standards of transparency and high abrasion resistance: motorists must be able to activate the wiper blades at all times and the organic photovoltaics it could deteriorate in a short time.
Organic photovoltaics, the limits
Michigan researchers have devised molecules capable of absorbing ultraviolet or near-infrared rays, therefore outside the spectrum of solar radiation visible to the human eye.
Already today, similar technologies exist on the market, these are partially transparent photovoltaic substances which, however, make the light strongly colored and therefore are not suitable for installations in work environments or in homes. These films have an efficiency of 7 percent, that is, they can only transform 7 percent of solar energy into electricity.
The new organic photovoltaics put precisely in the laboratories of the State University of Michigan, it has an even lower efficiency but has the advantage of being absolutely colorless and transparent. Currently this material is not in production because of its low efficiency (only 1 percent), but researchers want to increase it to at least 5 percent.
With these percentages, considering the small surfaces available on the cars, it will never be possible to obtain high power but it will be possible to recover that minimum of energy that goes to assist the efficiency of the on-board accumulators.