Solar Dye Creates Space-Age, Eco-Efficient Solar Windows

It seems like some great eco sci-fi concept, decades from reality: windows that not only generate solar electricity but automatically adjust their opacity for the benefit of our eyes (and the energy efficiency of buildings).  But that’s exactly what Peer + appears to have just unveiled with something called Smart Glass.

Smart Glass is being piloted in the Netherlands (according to Inhabitat) where Peer + is based, with a memorable sales tag: “the first windows with a payback time.” No word yet on how much payback these windows will have to produce in order to pay themselves off, but commonsense says they can’t be cheap. Still, how much energy could a Smart Glass high-rise produce? Enough to hit net-zero, maybe, and sell energy back to the power company as well?

Smart_Glass

image via Inhabitat

There’s no technical data currently online, but we’re assuming Smart Glass is based on a technology called “artificial photosynthesis”, wherein a dye composed of an electrolyte, a layer of titania and a ruthenium dye are sandwiched between glass, which increases in opacity as sunlight becomes more intense. In this process, light striking the dye excites electrons which are absorbed by the titania to become an electric current.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.