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University of the Free State researchers working on new glass solar panel for SA

In recent years we’ve written countless stories about the woes at local power utility Eskom and its struggles to keep the lights on. As such it’s worthwhile looking at alternatives sources of power, that don’t include nuclear power stations built by Russia, which brings us to a project being worked on at one of country’s tertiary institutions.

Business Tech reports that researchers from the University of the Free State (UFS) and Ghent University in Belgium are working on a new type of window glass which will act as a transparent solar panel in a bid address the ever-rising cost of electricity and growing demand for power.

“The idea is to develop a glass that is transparent to visible light, just like the glass you find in the windows of buildings, motor vehicles and mobile electronic devices, said senior professor in the Department of Physics at UFS, Prof Hendrik Swart.

“However, by incorporating the right phosphor materials inside the glass, the light from the sun that is invisible to the human eye (ultraviolet and infrared light) can be collected, converted and concentrated to the sides of the glass panel where solar panels can be mounted,” he continued.

The Professor adds that this technology can be implemented in construction to meet the energy demands of the people inside the building, as well as another possibility of application in electric cars, where the windows can be used to help power the vehicle.

“An innovation like this which can help to replace traditional means of carbon-based fuel for power generation in our daily lives would be hugely welcome,” concluded Swart.

There’s been no indication as for when such a solution will be commercially ready, but we’re hoping the UFS research team is moving swiftly.

[Source – Business Tech]
[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

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