Eureka! Researchers reach award finals with solar windows

Sun reflects brightly off modern office building windows (costs)
Image: Shutterstock

Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University have been selected as finalists in Australia’s premier national science awards, the Eureka Prizes, for developing windows that can generate solar power.

Related article: Solar glass maker scores funding for local manufacturing

Monash University partnered with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to develop windows that can efficiently generate solar electricity. The project is a finalist for the Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.

Led by Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure) Professor Jacek Jasieniak of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Dr Jenny Zhou of the Department of Civil Engineering, and working with a group led by Dr Anthony Chesman at CSIRO, Monash researchers have created semi-transparent solar cells made from materials called metal halide perovskites.

The physical characteristics of perovskites mean they are very efficient at generating electricity while also being transparent, and they can be printed as very thin films, making them ideal candidates for integrated applications in buildings.

Researchers have also shown how films made using metal halide perovskites can be “tuned” to achieve optimal balance between light transmission and power generation.
Modelling shows solar windows could produce up to 100% of the total electricity needs of a fully-glazed skyscraper, thus substantially reducing a building’s net CO2 emissions.

Related article: New solar recycling process helps recover valuable silver

Future development work in the project will focus on translating laboratory-based production methods to scalable production methods suitable for window sizes commonly used in construction.

Previous article“You can be anything”—Barbie’s power quest
Next articleTransgrid heads to market for grid-scale battery services