This transparent solar cell could charge your electric car batteries in the future!

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Transparent solar panel (2)

While auto makers the world over are shifting towards an electrically propelled future, on the other side, buyers have been rather apprehensive about an electric car’s range and the time it takes to fully recharge it’s batteries. For all we know, it could be the windows on our cars in the future which could iron those frowns on the forehead. Researchers at Michigan State University have created a fully transparent solar concentrator, which turns any window or sheet of glass into a photovoltaic solar cell. Unlike previous inventions which were rather translucent, this one really lets you see everything on the other side. Led by Richard  Lunt, the team behind this invention is confident that the panel can be deployed in a variety of settings, ranging from tall glass buildings to any kind of mobile device.

Transparent solar panel (1)

For those thinking as why was it not done until now, creating a transparent solar cell is rather difficult for the fact that a photovoltaic cell makes energy by absorbing sunlight and then converts it into electricity. However, if the cell itself is transparent, light would simply pass through like it didn’t care. To get around this, the researchers used a different technique. Instead of trying to create a transparent photovoltaic cell, they use a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC). The TLSC consists of organic salts that absorb specific non-visible wavelengths of ultraviolet and infrared light, which they then glow as another wavelength of infrared light. This emitted infrared light is guided to the edge of plastic, where thin strips of conventional photovoltaic solar cell convert it into electricity.

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Michigan’s TLSC currently has an efficiency of around 1%, but they think 5% should be possible. Not a big enough number that could keep recharging those batteries indefinitely. However, like everything else around us, we hope this technology will further evolve and eventually work in conjunction with body panels on a car that aren’t just made out of dumb metal. We also hope for some bright mind to come up with the formula to create non-polluting gasoline out of sea water. Should take care of the rising water levels too.

Source: Offgridquest

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