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Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Bring Great Promise

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Building-integrated photovoltaics is a tantalizing renewable energy concept that is spurring everything from madly optimistic fiscal speculation to a noticeable jump in available investment dollars. Potential products include a wide panoply of new applications for buildings, ranging from roofing to the use of dye-sensitized solar cells for concrete, or the cladding of exterior skins with products like solar windows.

DysCrete — Solar electricity from concrete

Imagine specifying solar-powered concrete for a building site. That is precisely what the developers of DysCrete are hoping to achieve.

As the Concrete.TV information points out, DysCrete is based on the principles of dye-sensitized solar cell process approach to concrete, stating;

A University of Kassel research team recently developed a building material that simultaneously functions as a photovoltaic cell. Important components of this new material are electrographic concrete and liquids such as fruit juices.


DysCrete is composed of “a special, electrographic concrete, which is coated with layers of titanium dioxide, organic liquid, an electrolyte, graphite, and a transparent surface. The result of that combination is a dye-sensitised solar cell and the concrete assumes the function of an electrode.”

According to Construction Art Invent:

The analysis of this still novel technical approach reveals the high compatibility of the DYSC technology with the chemistry and physics of concrete, including its materials and production logics. The dye-sensitized solar cell has inspiration from nature. It does not take Lich with semiconductor materials, but – like the chlorophyll-containing plants – with suspensions of organic dyes. In this sense, it is a technical adaptation of photosynthesis.

Even if building-integrated photovoltaics concepts like this are presently just considered developmental or art-based work, the idea of deploying a structural material such as concrete for use in anything from sidewalks and roadways to building skins is cause for an optimistic perspective. Make no mistake: significant investment is taking place in this arena.

“It is our goal to develop a material that can be employed in the construction industry in the future, eg for prefabricated components for building construction, façade elements, and innovative wall systems,” explains Prof. Klussmann from the University of Kassel. “At the same time, it will contribute to a sustainable and decentralised energy supply through its function as a solar cell.”

SolarWindow: A New Energy Technologies product

When it comes to reinvigorating the skin of a building, think about applying a SolarWindow in this age of glass-clad structures. According to Jerry Schranz, this device from New Energy Technologies should be considered as “something we like to call a vertical power generator on any glass surface.”

SolarWindow 1 thumbs_NET-ScottH-3-w As for specifics, the SolarWindow measures  6 inches by 6 inches. The solar module has been produced under the direction of New Energy’s leading scientist, Scott R. Hammond, and his in-house R&D team in collaboration with OPV specialists at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

Company officials state SolarWindow is currently under development for eventual commercial deployment in the estimated 80 million detached homes in America and more than five million commercial buildings. The federal government estimates the US can save $40 billion annually by reducing energy use in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020.

Glass Curtain wall noise barrier from Sphelar Power

This company is in the midst of research and development of a glass curtain wall that might be situated in the middle of city or see-through noise barriers on highway may become solar plant. This concept is achievable with Sphelar, writing its delivers aninnovative solution for BIPV market.”

The PV canvas for building-integrated photovoltaics appears to be ready for the next stage of evolution. We look forward to reporting news about new product developments, and most importantly, how well they are being blessed by thge marketplace.

Photos by DysCrete, via Baukensterfinden, & SolarWindow, via New Energy Technologies.

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is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.


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