Pilkington partners on new solar technologies

Pilkington is partnering with UK R&D on two separate projects to follow the progress of new solar materials that can be coated onto glass.
In one project, which has received funding from the UK gover…

Pilkington is partnering with UK R&D on two separate projects to follow the progress of new solar materials that can be coated onto glass. In one project, which has received funding from the UK government, Pilkington is working with Cambridge-based Polysolar to develop a demonstrator made of a large pane of glass with spray-coated organic photovoltaics (OPVs), achieving good levels of transparency. This two-year project continues PolySolar“s original investment in technology, which originated from Cambridge University“s Cavendish Laboratory, along with technology from US Plextronics. Founder of Polysolar, Hamish Watson, said that the company aims to produce glass with an efficiency of 4%. This would mean that a building envelope comprising of the glass could then generate between 20-30% of its energy needs. It may take three years before the OPV glass is commercialized, but, in the meantime, Polysolar is providing a solar glass based on amorphous silicon with a good degree of transparency, which is already being used in bus shelters and some new building projects. Pilkington is also the industrial partner on a project bid that involves several UK academic institutes, including Swansea University and The University of Manchester, pooling their IP and knowledge in dye-sensitized and other emerging solar cell technology for the building-integrated PV market. Dye-sensitized solar cells and other emerging printable PVs are more effective at turning more light on the spectrum to energy, whereas silicon is most effective in bright sun, making these technologies suitable for use in cloudy climates, such as in northern Europe. In this project, Pilkington“s interest is in new opportunities for construction glass, where it can be treated with the capacity to harvest energy from light and solar.