Date Added: 8/26/2015, by Stephen Hanley
Solar powered windows that generate electricity without spoiling the view? That’s the stuff of science fiction, right? Not anymore. Two groups of researchers — one in the US and another in Italy — have created functioning prototypes for solar powered windows that look clear but harvest electricity from the sunlight passing through them.
First, the Bellingham Herald reports that a team of 8 students at Western Washington University have won a $75.000 grant from the EPA to develop their “Smart Solar Window,” a unit that looks clear but turns ultraviolet light into electricity. That power can reduce a building’s heating and cooling costs up to 30 percent by automatically opening and closing windows to aid cooling and ventilation. The system can be operated remotely from a phone, computer or ventilation system.
The team — composed of graduate and undergraduate students from the departments of chemistry, engineering, design, and business and economics — has been working on the window for the past year. Student project leader James Kintzele says their window required the combined strengths of an interdisciplinary team.