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A technology that can turn windows into solar panels
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Scientists have developed a new green energy harnessing technology which they claim could turn all house windows into a solar power generator.

The new solar cell technology involves a unique patented film is developed by Norwegian company EnSol AS and expected to be released commercially by 2016.

Professor Chris Binns of Leicester University, who was behind the research, said the new technology could soon revolutionise the power industry in Britain.

"One of the key advantages is that it is a transparent thin film that can be coated onto window glass so that windows in buildings can also become power generators," Binns was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"Conversely the structural material of the building can also be coated. This could be side panels of the building itself or even in the form of 'clip-together' solar roof tiles.

According to him, the material designed by EnSol AS is based on nano-particles that can be synthesised in Leicester.

"In fact, following some initial investment by the company, the equipment we have here is uniquely suited to produce small amounts of the material for prototypes," he said.

"The work is important since the solar cells are based on a new operating principle. Obviously some light has to be absorbed in order to generate power but the windows would just have a slight tinting."

According to Binns, as the thin film can be coated onto large areas it could become very much cheaper than conventional devices.

The coating would be built into the windows or other materials as part of the manufacturing process.

It could even be used on the roofs of cars to charge up batteries -- although powering the vehicles themselves would probably be pushing it, the scientist added.

The material is composed of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix.

A spokesperson for EnSol AS said: "The basic cell concept has been demonstrated and it will be the objective of this research and development project to systematically refine this technology to achieve a cell efficiency of 20 per cent or greater.

"A thin film deposition system with nano-particle source will be designed and constructed in collaboration with the University of Leicester for the fabrication of prototype cells based on this design.

"EnSol's next generation cell technology has tremendous potential for industrial scale, low environmental impact, cost effective production via standard 'spray on' techniques."
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