As we move towards a zero-emissions future, using windows to create solar power gives the construction industry a chance to reduce its carbon footprint.
The British-based Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is teaming up with solar panel producer Polysolar and materials supplier Merck to develop a building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) device. This will enable windows of the future to not only generate their own solar power, but also provide greater thermal control.
The project aims to address the construction industry’s need for zero carbon buildings by developing a transparent BIPV window that is capable of both generating power and controlling temperature. The commercialisation of such a device will reduce building energy costs while offering more options in structural design. Transparent solar glazing panels are easy to install in conventional framing, making them suitable for windows, skylights, facades and roofing.
“The output of the project will be to produce large-scale organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices using sustainable, low-cost manufacturing processes,” said CPI’s Dave Barwick.
“Once concluded, the project will provide the industry with the required lifetimes, dimensions and price points needed to evaluate how to take this emerging technology to market.”
An upgraded version of the recently launched semi-transparent grey-coloured lisicon
formulation from Merck is a key element that will be further improved to help take this technology from a prototype to the market. The OPV window demonstrator will seek to achieve similar installation costs, transparency, performance and lifetime to that of high performance glazing currently used in industry, while delivering energy yields comparable to those delivered by conventional photovoltaics in a vertical orientation.
“This presents a unique opportunity to further develop the commercial use of grey OPV modules and to drive more widespread adoption of BIPV,” said Brian Daniels, Head of the Advanced Technologies business unit at Merck.
“Modern architecture faces a dilemma of wishing to maximise natural light delivery and reduce building energy consumption,” said Polysolar’s Hamish Watson.
“With our OPV glazing, we deal with these conflicts while also generating carbon-free renewable energy, thus enabling buildings of the future to be truly zero carbon.