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Oxford Company Developing Energy-Generating Windows
Oxford Photovoltaics has won a £100,000 ($150,000) prize to develop the technology for screen-printed organic solar cells that could be placed onto window panes in order to generate energy. The company was recently awarded the prize money by the U.K. Technology Strategy Board in their “Disruptive Solutions Competition,” a contest which seeks out innovative solutions for more sustainable living.
Solar windows are not a new idea (Michael Gratzel famously developing a similar technology), however Oxford Photovoltaics are developing a process that forgoes the use of conventional methods such as silicon-based cells, instead using a dye-sensitive cell that imitates plants’ photosynthetic process, and then applying the technology onto ordinary windows. The dye used on their organic solar cells will enable electrons to be activated by creating a current. The cells will also be sealed so as to protect them from outside influences and the environment.
“We think there’s an enormous market in building the solar-cell material into the fabric of the building rather than having bolt-on solar cells,” chief executive Kevin Arthur told The Engineer. It is hoped that the solar cells will have a useful life of up to 20 years.
Oxford Photovoltaics was one of four winners of the Disruptive Solutions Competition by the Technology Strategy Board. Winning the sustainability category was Arvia Technology for its development in water disinfection treatment systems which will reduce water waste in homes; and the two runners-up in each category included RE Hydrogen Ltd, which developed an alkaline electrolyzer stack; and Arcola Energy, which examined hydrogen fuel cells in powering remote offices.
Via Fast Company
Image © Flickr hotzeplotz
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