Glasshouses that generate their own electricity will change the way we produce crops in the future.
The idea of clear glass providing electricity will change the way we generate and use power. Researches have been working on developing this concept for many years. Due to the popularity of solar panels, scientists have gone one step further to create a clear energy harvesting glass, which if used in greenhouses and could aid in producing crops in any climate or season.
With similar technologies already on the market that are not fully transparent, professor Kamel Alameh and his team of researches from Edith Cowan University Electon Science Research Institute (ESRI) in Perth have created the World-first clear energy harvesting glass.
This new development in converting unwanted radiation into electricity will be a huge cost saver in green houses. The energy harvested is used to power its structure, for example providing heating, cooling, light and water irrigation. With the presence of underground water it will generate agricultural production and produce crops in areas that may be too hot or too cold.
“We hope to end up with self-sustainable greenhouses that doesn’t need the power from the grid, and then it can be producing its own energy to produce the maximum or a good crop yield,” explained Kamel Alameh to the ABC.
The technology has been developed in collaboration with ClearVue Technologies who produced the first ‘Intelligent Glass’.
“ESRI have successfully made a prototype, making my dream and reality come true,” admits ClearVue’s chairman Victor Rosenberg.
“The energy revolution will change the way we generate and use power. Energy and design must work hand in hand”.
How Intelligent Glass Works
Intelligent glass has three main characteristics:
- It allows light to pass through
- It has superior insulation properties
- Produces electricity
- The sunrays enter the window and greater then 70% of visible light passes through.
- A spectral selective coating reflects the ultra violet and infrared rays back into the interlayer that has nanoparticles.
- These specialised nanoparticles direct the ultra violet and infrared rays (waste products) to the edge of the glass where they are collected into electricity.
Just like the solar panels on roofs this power can be used on site or can be fed back into the grid. Anywhere the glass faces the sun will be a source of power and most importantly the glass is perfectly clear. Existing solar panels have limitations, only producing power when the sun shines and they also block out visible light. This new age of development has been referred to ‘Disrupted Technology'.
Glasshouses and Intelligent Glass
This new technology will be invaluable in glasshouses where there is a large glass area, which relies on maintaining an even temperature for optimal growing conditions. Intelligent Glass provides the light, the insulation and the power to aid in this production. There has been a rapid investment in horticulture for food security and safety with the intensions to reduce the amount of pesticides, fungicides and any other chemicals that are consumed from most of our foods on a daily bases.
Chairman Victor Rosenberg explains that glass would provide farmers “security and safety of produce” and reduce the need for chemicals.
An experiment was carried out where Intelligent Glass was shipped to Canada and South Africa to collect data from both hemispheres proven that these greenhouses are suited for diverse climates.
The Future for Intelligent Glass
Intelligent Glass is not only a design resolution for glasshouses, it will also be used in high-rise building and even our cars, which will have advanced properties like safety and shatterproof glass.
“In a world where we all want to leave a smaller carbon footprint, intelligent glass is a major step forward. By combining Intelligent Glass into our energy and design revolutions a clear, smarter tomorrow is not only possible but it is inevitable”, states Victor Rosenberg.
Intelligent Glass is expected to save over 300 million barrels of oil in the US annually. This new revolution in utilising the suns energy is helping move away from burning fossil fuels and working towards a smarter, cleaner future.
You can find out more about this amazing glass here: