The Don Rowe Blog
Power Inversion Systems In Solar Paint—Really?
The idea of ‘solar paint’ sounds a bit weird and almost sci-fi, but this technology is emerging, though it is still in the infancy stage—have to start somewhere, right? Solar paint is being developed to possess the very same function as large photo-voltaic solar collectors. For the record, photo-voltaic simply refers to the usage of solar panels to convert solar radiation (or sunlight), into direct current (DC) electricity. In most cases, this DC electricity must be converted into alternating current (AC) which can be, then, used as household electricity to power lights, computers, DVD players, televisions, appliances etc. The conversion of DC energy into AC energy requires the use of a power inverter of some type.
So let’s get this straight: We’re talking about a coat of solar paint on the outside of one’s home that could generate enough electricity from sunlight that could power appliances and equipment on the inside? – That’s right.
A Hard-To-Believe Technology:
Chemical engineers are researching solar paint which would incorporate a mixture of microscopic photo-voltaic elements that can actually be sprayed or painted onto countless surfaces. These microscopic particles are labeled as nanoparticles to emphasize their ridiculously small size–so small that you could place 250 Billion of them on the head of a pin. The nanoparticles could actually be used to generate power and turn one’s home or business into a sun-trap, so to speak.
Though the commercialization of nanoparticles is not fully realized, nano scientists are stating that nano paints are “the next generation of solar-cell technologies”. Similar technologies are using ‘quantum dots’, which are about 2 to 10 nanometers in diameter, to create solar paints, also. These dots absorb solar radiation which is changed to DC electricity. This DC electricity is converted microscopically to AC electricity—a microscopic power inversion process that is hard to wrap one’s mind around. This incredible science involves atom manipulation (nano-technology) which microscopically produces desired end results that could not be achieved, otherwise. One example involves the creation of a microscopic nozzle, brought about by moving atoms around at will. Through atomic rearrangement, the nozzle was created at 1000 times thinner than a single, human hair! The same concept applies to microscopic power inversion processes, within nano particles, that take place at an atomic level.
Could It Be That Simple?
The idea is to, eventually, take bulky, expensive solar panels which can that take up about 300 square feet of roof and replace them with a single coat of paint filled with nanoparticles. We’re talking about something as simple as getting a paint brush and covering walls or other surfaces with these power-producing dynamos without the use of any special equipment. Does this sound outlandishly effortless, or what?
Scientists from NDnano, one of the leading nanotechnology centers in the world, have already proven the light-to-energy conversion utilizing the specially-coated nano-sized particles. Their results have been published in the scientific journal, ACS Nano. According to one of the lead researchers: “The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we’ve reached is 1% which is well behind the usual 10-15% efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells. But this paint can be made cheaply and in large quantities. If we can improve the efficiency somewhat, we may be able to make a real difference in meeting energy needs in the future.”
So, we have nanoparticles embedded in solar paint complete with microscopic power inversion abilities—add a simple paint brush or two and it can all work together to possibly change the entire landscape of solar electricity around the world—all I can say is: Are you kidding me?!