Over the last few years Professor Kamal Alameh, Director of the Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) at ECU, has been working in the field of renewable energy, harnessing the optical properties of nano-particles, he and his R&D team have achieved a breakthrough in photonics to develop electricity generating window panes that will improve the sustainability of domestic and commercial buildings by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
“When sunlight strikes a glass window, much of the energy passes straight through and is transmitted into a room as heat and light,” he says. “Typically, on a one square metre window the energy in the light is about 1,000W, or 1 kW. You can prevent some of this energy from passing into the room by having tinted film on the surface of the glass, or sandwiched between two layers. We developed the photo-voltaic window by placing a continuous layer of nano-particles between the two sheets of glass. The nano-structured material has special properties related to the effects of luminescence and scattering. It is transparent to visible light waves but prevents the entry of both ultra violet (UV) and infrared light (IR). This means there is no reduction of visible light entering the room, so there is no need to use extra electric lighting”.
Entrepreneur and founder of relatively new Tropiglas Technologies, Victor Rosenberg is the man driving very new ground breaking technology into the commercial space. “We have been working on this project for a number of years now and finally we have the product to show the world what has been achieved. We know this will be one of the biggest ever developments for renewable energy Australia has seen” says Rosenberg’s team.
Based on detailed mathematical scientific calculations, with the new Tropiglas product the airconditioning-related electricity cost savings would be in excess of 28%, assuming only 75% of solar infrared-range energy shielding and a building located in moderate latitudes.
Using the performance characteristics of the current-generation Tropiglas products (now shielding 90-96% of the total solar infrared energy) and assuming a building made mainly of glass surfaces and located in tropical latitudes, they predict cooling-related electricity savings to approach 40%. Basically this means that companies and households would be saving a lot of dollars on their energy costs.
The Tropiglas team are in the process of beginning to talk to Government about grants as well as talking to investors, needless to say those already investing in the renewable energy space are very interested already. The technology has also generated interest globally from manufacturers in places as far away as France and Israel. One thing is for sure this type of technology is definitely one that will be integrated into massive commercial premises in the next few years and soon after residential will follow.
It will be interesting to see how quickly investment rounds close and the time frame it takes to get the product integrated into new sites.