Researchers at New Energy Technologies, whose trademark SolarWindow technology is capable of generating electricity on see-through glass, said thisweek they have managed to generate electricity on flexible plastic using the company’s spray-on coating methods. The company said this newtechnology is an important step towards the development ofelectricity-generating window films.
The researchers sprayed New Energy’s electricity-generating coatings onto flexible, lightweight lab-scaleplastic (polyethylene terephthalate or “PET”) at room temperature and at low pressure, which they say could reduce manufacturing costs. Theymanaged to overcome “conventional issues with surface preparation” whenpreparing the PET prototype, which is crucial in order to achievemaximum strength of the coatings’ bond to the surface and for moredurability and longevity.
Besides, researchers were able to maintain the working ‘architecture’ of New Energy’s SolarWindow while achieving flexibility. TheSolarWindow architecture enables important functions such as generating solar electricity on the surface of plastic and distributing electricity to the circuit.
And how would this translate into a commercial product? New Energyscientists envisage a see-through tinted window film. It’s not exactly a new idea, but it has been stymied in the past by difficulties such astemperature-specific and pressure sensitive methods (which were alsoexpensive and cumbersome) for applying coating to plastic surfaces. Thecompany’s flexible plastic overcomes such obstacles, they say.
With an estimated 85 million commercial buildings and homes in theU.S., New Energy believes there is huge potential for its SolarWindowtechnology, which is the subject of ten new patent filings.