Material engineers in China have developed window coatings that both regulate temperature and generate electricity.
Scientists have previously developed coatings with one of the two attributes, but the latest breakthrough marks the first time the abilities have been combined.
Researchers had to find a balance between the technology’s three components. The coating needed to allow light for illumination to pass through, while filtering out infrared wavelengths and converting some of the solar rays into electricity.
By combining a variety of materials and compounds, scientists found a happy medium.
Instead of outfitting the window coating with transparent solar cells, researchers developed semi-transparent photovoltaics. The technology allowed scientists to harvest energy from the sun’s near-infrared rays, while letting visible light through and filtering out the wavelengths responsible for heating. By filtering out infrared wavelengths, the window coating can boost the efficiency of a building’s heating and cooling systems.