• Mar 12th 2008 at 11:13AM
  • 5
Need electricity to power your future PHEV or electric car but don't want more coal or nuclear power plants to add to our pollution problems or maybe drain the country's water resources? It seems with each impending disaster our past and present technology creates, a new technology emerges to counter the effects. After reading about new studies which warn of the need to end CO2 emissions and feeling a bit worried, relief came quickly this morning as I read on ScienceDaily of a new breakthrough in solar energy generation. Whilst we have all been fretting about how we were going to power the future, the alchemists in the Materials Research Center at Swansea University in Wales have "kept nose to grindstone" and have now announced they can collect energy from the sun with paint.

The kinks haven't been completely worked out yet but if they can succeed in applying the paint properly to the metal cladding commonly used on buildings, they believe they could produce 4,500 gigawatts of electricity collectors a year. And that's in not-so-sunny England with an energy conversion rate of a meager 5 percent. The secret to the huge total amount is simple. Volume Volume VOLUME! Corus Colours, the manufacturer the research team has been working with, produces around 100 million square meters of steel building cladding a year. I'm not sure what I should reach for first, my calculator to guesstimate the worldwide implications or my dancing shoes.

[Source: ScienceDaily]


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  • 5 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      IT IS EXSENSIVE BUT COMPANIES ARE DEVELOPING SOLAR PAINT FOR HOUSES. WE NEED MILLIONS OF RESEARCH BUCKS TO FIND A WAY TO USE THIS SOLAR PAINT FOR CARS. IF THIS BECOMES A BREAK THRU USA ECONOMY WILL SOAR. OUR PLANETS AIR WILL BE CLEANER. THE CARS CAN BE MANUFACTORED AT A FAST RATE DONE MORE CHEAPLY ON A ASEMBLY LINE.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If this technology were developed to the point where we could see it applied to the manufacture of motor vehicles, we could end our overweening dependence on OPEC oil supplies. I think that governments need to get solidly behind research efforts to ensure that we can do this.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've wondered about the implications of having the ability for any painted surface to generate electricity from light. Obviously buildings would benefit the most, being out in the sun all the time and having a large flat surface area. I know it's unlikely for this kind of technology to reach a useful efficiency for smaller surfaces anytime soon, what if your electric car's ~entire~ surface were a solar panel? Beyond that, what about something like a cell phone that could charge itself just by setting it on a windowsill? There's huge potential in this technology, but as I said it would take some serious development to move beyond large static applications.
      • 7 Years Ago
      See? Harvesting energy is not the problem. There will be more and more clever solutions like this one, heck, I even have some ideas. The real breakthroughs will be in the storage of this energy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The real key factor is the cost per watt. One way to lower cost would be to achieve very high conversion efficiency, thus reducing the size and cost of the panels. This is trying a different cost reduction tactic, making it really cheap per sq. ft. to compensate for the lower efficiency and larger size needed.
      We should understand that this is no ordinary paint, it is a special multilayer coating that requires special manufacturing. No, paintbrush or roller won't do it!
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