Glass to Power Photovoltaic Windows at Klimahouse
During the conference NZEB experience 2017: performance retrofitting of buildings towards NZEB objectives, the speech by Professor Francesco Meinardi from Università degli Studi of Milano Bicocca was a great success “A future for windows: luminescent solar concentrators based on nanoparticles for building integrated photovoltaics”.
Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) consist of semitransparent plastic slabs doped with highly emissive chromophores which, upon absorption of the sunlight, emit long-wavelength photons. These photons are guided by total internal reflection to the device edges, where they are converted into electricity by conventional PV cells installed along the slab perimeter. Thanks to their easy integration into active architectural elements, LSCs are considered one of the most promising complement for the achievement of near zero-energy balance buildings in highly-populated urban areas, where rooftop surfaces are insufficient for collecting all the energy required for the building operations. These devices were proposed for the first time over 40 years ago, but have never become a commercial product due to strong light reabsorption of conventional chromophores, thus preventing reasonable energy efficiency. The technology developed by Glass to Power uses nanoparticles (NP) as chromophores, which decouple the processes of absorption and emission of light thanks to an appropriate engineering. This made it possible to build prototypes with good generation efficiency even for areas of hundreds of square centimeters, which can be easily scaled up to the dimensions required for commercial applications. Moreover, LSCs are essentially colorless, which is a key requirement for their application to building-integrated photovoltaics. A complete colorimetric characterization demonstrated that our LSC do not introduce relevant distortion of the transmitted light nor modifications to the indoor-to-outdoor chromatic perception. In conclusion, it is now possible to produce stable, environmentally friendly large-area LSC, with good efficiency ready for BIPV modules.