Saturday, March 8, 2008

Solar Power Paint Could Turn Wasteful Buildings Into Power Plants

Swansea University (TGW) – Researchers at Swansea University are developing a way to paint solar cells onto the steel sheets commonly used to clad large buildings.

The paint will be based on dye-sensitised solar cells. Instead of absorbing sunlight using silicon like conventional solar panels, they use dye molecules attached to particles of the titanium dioxide pigment used in paints.

While less efficient than conventional cells, dye-based cells do not require expensive silicon, and can be applied as a liquid paste.

The scientists are collaborating with leading metal group Corus Colours.

“Corus Colours produces around 100 million square metres of steel building cladding a year. If this was treated with the photovoltaic material, and assuming a conservative 5% energy conversion rate, then we could be looking at generating 4,500 gigawatts of electricity through the solar cells annually. That’s the equivalent output of roughly 50 wind farms,” said head researcher Dr. Dave Worsley.

Unlike conventional solar cells, the materials being developed are more efficient at capturing low light radiation.

The team has already demonstrated a prototype.

Via :: Press Release