Today’s Solutions: May 23, 2022

Over the years, we’ve written a number of stories about the potential of solar windows that could convert light into energy. The technology, however, has yet to take off.

The main problem is that the solar windows created thus far have been too opaque, failing to allow much light to come through the windows. In search of a solution, scientists at South Korea’s Incheon National University have developed a solar panel that uses transparent photovoltaic technology (TPV). Unlike conventional solar panels, TPV can harness the invisible UV spectrum of sunlight to create energy, rather than the visible light harvested by opaque panels.

The transparent solar windows use titanium dioxide and nickel oxide as semiconductors. The benefit of titanium oxide is that it’s non-toxic and eco-friendly, while nickel oxide is abundant. In tests so far, these solar panels have an efficiency of 2.1 percent, which is quite a bit less than the 8 percent efficiency rate of semi-transparent windows we wrote about back in August. 

However, Incheon’s transparent windows do allow a lot more light to pass through—and considering the impressive track record of innovation within solar technology, we can reasonably expect these transparent windows to become more efficient over the years.

“While this innovative solar cell is still very much in its infancy, our results strongly suggest that further improvement is possible for transparent photovoltaics by optimizing the cell’s optical and electrical properties,” said Joondong Kim, who led the research team.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

New program seeks to break the cycle between jail and homelessness

Several factors can lead to homelessness: a lack of affordable housing, high costs of living, and even, sadly, mental illness. Another factor that contributes to homelessness, which is often overlooked, is incarceration.  Many individuals serve ... Read More

How a century-old cargo schooner is bringing back emissions-free shipping

The shipping industry is responsible for 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — putting about 940 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Before 1960, however, when containerization started to take off, ... Read More

Dam! Europe removes record number of river barriers in 2021

In 2021, Spain began a movement to remove dams from the country’s rivers to restore fish migration routes and boost biodiversity across the nation. They successfully took down 108 barriers and inspired other European countries ... Read More

This contact lens releases glaucoma medication

While it is treatable, glaucoma remains a serious eye disease that can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness if left untreated. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease, and research ... Read More

US soccer and national teams reach agreement to close gender pay gap

In a historic win for women’s rights, US Soccer and both the women’s and men’s national teams have proclaimed a collective bargaining agreement to close the gender pay gap and ensure that each player, regardless ... Read More

New immunotherapy drug combo slows liver cancer growth in mice

There is something of an art to the science of medicine. We’ve all heard that everyone’s different, and so is their biology. Sometimes, developing the right treatment for a patient’s condition takes dedicated and creative ... Read More