Alternative energy is no longer an exotic subject for most of us. Today, one can expect to find it in technologies outfitted in cars, homes and mobile devices, among others. Still new developments manage to surprise once in a while because the industry does continue with the research development in its ultimate goal of finally ending the global dependence on fossil fuels. One of the amazing discoveries to be announced recently involved a "see-through solar panel" developed by researchers at Michigan State University, Engadget reported. It is quite uninspiring for a name but this technology's implication could prove to be truly revolutionary.
The idea behind the see-through solar is to capture solar energy through a thin film that could easily coat panels such as glass and plastic. It would, in effect, remove the bulky photovoltaic cells out of the equation. That means the amount of real estate that can be outfitted with solar technology is radically expanded, according to National Geographic.
The see-through solar can be installed as windows instead of the regular glass or home components such as skylights. It can also be used as a material for smartphone - not just as back cover - but as its actual display.
"If the process became part of glass and window manufacturing, homes and skyscrapers could draw power from the sun without the spatial and aesthetic limits of current, opaque solar panels," according to Bloomberg.
It appears that the only limit to its application could be human imagination itself. "It's a whole new way of thinking... We see this eventually going everywhere," Miles Barr, co-founder of Ubiquitous Energy startup, told National Geographic.
The see-through characteristic of the new solar energy is made possible through organic chemistry. The scientists behind this technology drew from simple building blocks found on Earth: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, among other elements. The resulting material is able to soak in the sun's ultraviolet rays and convert them into electricity through the solar cells at the edge of the surface.