Washington, April 11 : Australian researchers are trying to realise a solar cell glass that will not only generate energy, but also act as windows in future houses and commercial buildings.
Professor John Bell of QUT Institute of Sustainable Resources (ISR) believes that such a glass may lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions in the future.
Bell, who is working on the project with experts at Canberra-based company Dyesol, said that the solar cell glass would make a significant difference to home and building owners' energy costs and could, in fact, generate excess energy that could be stored or sold.
"The transparent solar cells have a faint reddish hue but are completely see-through," Bell said.
"The solar cells contain titanium dioxide coated in a dye that increases light absorption. The glass captures solar energy which can be used to power the house but can also reduce overheating of the house, reducing the need for cooling," he added.
Bell envisions that future houses will be made entirely of the transparent solar cells.
"As long as a house is designed throughout for energy efficiency, with low-energy appliances it is conceivable it could be self-sustaining in its power requirements using the solar-cell glass," he said.
"Australian housing design tends to encourage high energy use because electricity is so cheap. But it is easy to build a house that doesn't need powered cooling or heating in Queensland," he added.
He further said that the solar cell glass might be available in a few years.
Presently, the research team is exploring ways to increase the energy absorption of the glass, and to reduce the effects of "shadowing" where overcast skies and shadows from trees or other buildings can cause loss of collected power.