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Breakthrough in energy harvesting with clear glass

Breakthrough in energy harvesting with clear glass

Image: MR Victor Rosenberg, the CEO of ClearVue (left), and Professor Kamal Alameh(right), outside a prototype greenhouse using the new energy harvesting glass, on the ECU campus.

A research team, led by ARC-funded researcher Professor Kamal Alameh, at Edith Cowan University has developed a breakthrough new technology, in a clear glass that harvests energy directly from the sun while letting most of the visible light through.

The glass is embedded with nanoparticles and micro-structured elements that help absorb and re-distribute, internally, up to 90 per cent of the ultraviolet (UV) light energy—and also a good fraction of infrared rays’ energy from the sunlight—and transfer this energy to solar cells embedded around the edges of the glass panel. The energy harvested could be used in many applications, with a strong potential identified in creating new smart greenhouses, which power their own water filtration, irrigation, heating and cooling.

“We hope to end up with a self-sustainable greenhouse that doesn't need the power from the grid, and then it can be producing its own energy to produce the maximum or a good crop yield," said Professor Alameh.

The glass has already been used in a self-sustainable bus shelter in Melbourne, and is being further developed commercially in collaboration with ClearVue technologies, in what Professor Alameh describes it as a “game changer” for the glass industry.

Professor Alameh is Director of the Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) at Edith Cowan University, and the solar glass technology received $300,000 in support from an ARC Linkage Project grant in 2013.

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