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Solar Window Panes

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the bright-ideas dept.

Science 315

Val42K writes "Now, those windows that allow glare onto your computer screen can be useful. They will provide power to your computer, air conditioning and other useful necessities. Energy conversion rates are 'way more than 50 percent'."

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315 comments

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yet another worthless... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955092)

... first post

Re:yet another worthless... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955107)

Windows will actually be powerful? Someone should tell Microsoft about this!

OH NO U DONT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955271)

HA Ha, you suck PENIS and COCK and you slurp it down, slurp it down like Abu at the corner station with a slurpee. Abu is taking your jobs, you know, you fagzors. Abu is sending his Injun (dot, not feather) children to the school and they are the new doctors and you are nothing but the COCK and BALLS sucker, you exist to give pleasure to the ball sack of your betters. How does it make you feel, to have the sperms flowing down your chin and throat like a good facial whore?

my monitor looks like a fishbowl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955100)

it does.

what about the dark? (5, Interesting)

jr87 (653146) | about 11 years ago | (#6955101)

well I kinda wondered about how it would work so well in NY cuz some buildings or in the shadow of others. Second, if this gets implemented and than a couple days of no sun pop up wouldn't it stress out the grid a bit more than normal

Re:what about the dark? (2, Informative)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955147)

I think winter would be a bigger problem, many places get weeks and even months without significant lighting at some point in the year. The power grids would still have to be able to handle full usage.

Re:what about the dark? (-1, Offtopic)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955237)

The power grids will have to be able to handle full usage, but what about you?

Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Re:what about the dark? (-1, Offtopic)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955275)

No I haven't, and wtf does that have to do with the topic? This is when I need mod powers.

Re:what about the dark? (0, Flamebait)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955283)

Seeking power from the sun "god" Ra. Flouting God's law, eschewing His gifts of coal, wood, and fossil fuels for a false power from a false god.

What has this to do with the story indeed...

It's not too late to accept Him into your heart.

Re:what about the dark? (0, Flamebait)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955307)

Even at the risk of negative modding, I'll say that 'He' is BS to me and I'll use whatever power source I need to keep my computer running. No Him or Ra or He or Hades or other unproven believe of you or anyone else is gunna keep me from living how I want!!! Take your preaching else where and don't you dare show up on my door step.

Re:what about the dark? (5, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | about 11 years ago | (#6955302)

many places get weeks and even months without significant lighting at some point in the year

and many places aren't suitable for hydro generation. and many more places lack fossil fuels. so?

when it comes to alternative energies, we aren't looking for one silver bullet. a solid energy programme will rely on a diversity of generation methods as well as consumer and industrial-level conservation measures. when it's windy, use wind. when it's sunny, use solar. when neither is available, fall back on hydro or (god forbid) coal. and, of course, conserve, conserve, conserve.

the last time we had a grand-unified-energy-solution it was "too cheap to meter" nuclear power.

oops.

not true in the summer (1)

snooo53 (663796) | about 11 years ago | (#6955225)

At least in the summer, it wouldn't be a problem if it was cloudy. With no sun out heating up the building through the windows (and walls), air conditioning costs would be considerably lower. And of course, since A/C is the biggest energy drain on the grids in summer, it shouldn't be a problem at all on cloudy days

Re:what about the dark? (0, Troll)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955260)

well I kinda wondered about how it would work so well in NY cuz some buildings or in the shadow of others. Second, if this gets implemented and than a couple days of no sun pop up wouldn't it stress out the grid a bit more than normal

It's bound to fail eventually anyway. NY will be lucky not to even have the illusion of this working out. God's law does not permit the unnatural products of science. So long as this kind of power is the product of science and not His Will, I think we're pretty much going to have to stick to burning the timber, coal and fossil fuels He has given us.

A good man would write his power company to warn of a boycott should this sort of thing be deployed.

Re:what about the dark? (1)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | about 11 years ago | (#6955286)

Think maybe if we bought a few SCO Linux licenses everything would turn out better, Darl? :)

Re:what about the dark? (-1, Offtopic)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955296)

This is in danger of veering off topic, and I know I'm responding to a troll, but His word compels me even so...

Linux can be used for many things, just as a hammer can be used for many things. If a hammer is made of gold, and it is created to celebrate His glory, the hammer can still be used to sin. Strike a man dead, and the sin is no lesser for the use of His hammer than it would be for the most base and uncelebrated cudgel.

Nothing can save you from sin but His word. Accept Jesus into your heart and let your worry fade away.

Re:what about the dark? (0, Offtopic)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | about 11 years ago | (#6955321)

Accept Jesus into your heart

Speaking of accepting parasitic creatures into oneself, have you gotten your worms problem [slashdot.org] taken care of?

Who Cares? Canterbury Lost to SOUTHLAND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955102)

Let us mourn for all the men in Canterbury who have now been proven unworthy to fuck a woman again. Not only did they lose, they lost through tackles so limp that it makes you wonder whether they had a wee trip up to Auckland. Let the Southland men enjoy their spoils with a fuckfest of the (now quite willing and receptive) Canterbury women, and watch the Canterbury team honorably drown themselves in the waters off Akaroa, having forgotten that Rugby truely is war.

I'll take... (4, Funny)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955103)

uh, so how much do I need to power 5 desktops, 3 laptops, and a server? I hope I have enough windows.

Re:I'll take... (2, Funny)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about 11 years ago | (#6955247)

I hope you have enough Linux :)

Re:I'll take... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955264)

just be sure not to run windows..

Just be careful (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955104)

Make sure you don't buy Microsoft Solar Windows. Criminals have an easy time breaking in with Microsoft Windows installed.

Linux version (3, Funny)

QEDog (610238) | about 11 years ago | (#6955274)

There was going to be a Linux version, but SCO wanted $700 for each pane.

MS windows (1)

fruity1983 (561851) | about 11 years ago | (#6955289)

I hear they don't insulate too well either, what with the holes popping up all the time.

Translucent? (1)

wmspringer (569211) | about 11 years ago | (#6955111)

First it says the squares are translucent. Then it says they don't impede the view. Which is it?

Re:Translucent? (1)

Verteiron (224042) | about 11 years ago | (#6955154)

And I can only assume by "near 100% efficiency" they don't mean "100% of sunlight converted to energy" because otherwise there would be large dark spots on the window. To me, that does not sound like an unimpeded view...

Re:Translucent? (1)

catbutt (469582) | about 11 years ago | (#6955228)

Even if the square are transparent, it could "not impede the view", but some interpretations -- assuming you have two working eyes. Much like you can see through a chain link fence and not have it block distant objects.

Big Foe (-1, Offtopic)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955112)

Everybody who replies to this comment goes on Darl McBride's "foes" list.

Please reply if you would like an orange pill next to my name on your very own logged-in account.

Either way, GNAA 0wnz j00.

I hope I get modded down into the floor. (1)

pr0ntab (632466) | about 11 years ago | (#6955295)

The wired article is pretty cool (but I'm sure I've read about this before; maybe Discover magazine in a R&D section?)

I wonder how much it'd cost to do my house. ^_^

Okay, put me on your foes list, McBride. I hate your fucking guts.

never mind windows (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955119)

there are a lot more roofs and walls than windows and roofs are better situated wrt the sun. Therefore photovoltaic roofing would always be a better idea.

Re:never mind windows (1)

wcdw (179126) | about 11 years ago | (#6955235)

What a naive view, particularly in light of the reference to office buildings in NYC. Skyscrapers have _FAR_ more window area than they do roof surface.

No too mention that a PV array on my roof would not suffice to supply my power requirements without some serious conservation efforts. I know - I've looked at putting up PV-tile roofing for a couple years now. Supplementing that with window area makes sense to me.

Window Panes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955123)

I didn't think the sun had anything to do with Windows being a pain!?!

Re:Window Panes? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955167)

Windows is a pane?

Employees might become sick (4, Funny)

civilengineer (669209) | about 11 years ago | (#6955124)

because they will get sunlight devoid of energy. (Just as water downstream of dams has no energy left).

Re:Employees might become sick (1, Informative)

Blackbox42 (188299) | about 11 years ago | (#6955149)

Ummm... What? Employees currently are commonly subjected to no sunlight. Electric lights have lead to the creation of rooms within buildings without a need for direct sunlight. Furthermore what do you mean when you say water downstream of dams has no energy left? Dams create energy by harnessing the force of gravity as water moves downhill. There is no magical energy contained within water which dams extract.

Re:Employees might become sick (1)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955222)

I think he was joking about the dam water.

Re:Employees might become sick (5, Funny)

catbutt (469582) | about 11 years ago | (#6955214)

Sunlight without energy is usually referred to as "darkness"

Mod Parent -1 Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955221)

Mod Parent -1 Stupid

Sunlight without energy (2, Funny)

tessaiga (697968) | about 11 years ago | (#6955261)

Ah, this must be how they make blacklights.

A useful general power solution too (4, Interesting)

ReyTFox (676839) | about 11 years ago | (#6955126)

If I understand this right, we don't necessarily have to put these in windows to use their power. They could be railings on walkways, desks, sculptures....lots of possibilities.

Maybe someday everything we build will take solar energy.

Re:A useful general power solution too (1)

ItalianScallion (145653) | about 11 years ago | (#6955262)

that is good, because putting these in the relatively small percent of a building that is window space wouldn't be such a hot idea. first of all, 100% efficency is impossible due to conversion losses etc etc, unless there is some incredibly new noble prize level development involved.

that means you are blocking light to produce it again with some energy loss deeper in the room, among other things. why have the radiative energy loss of large windows that are partially blocked? if you are going to do this, have smaller windows and the rest of the building covered in this material.

Reasons this won't work. (-1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | about 11 years ago | (#6955129)

Can be found here [denbeste.nu] .

Its all about the cost (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | about 11 years ago | (#6955130)

We already have a lot of promising technology related to alternative energy, energy transmission, and energy conservation. However the common problem amongst all of these is cost. People are usually cheap and until the ROI becomes better businesses are not going to do it. However ROI calculations are becoming easier to make as costs drop as the technologies progress.

Re:Its all about the cost (1, Informative)

keplon (690637) | about 11 years ago | (#6955267)

British Petroleum (the BP gas stations) has apparenlty dedicated very much to solar energy: bpsolar [bpsolar.com]
A testimonial on that site claims that their system had a 5-year payback; in other words, it cost the same as 60 months' worth of electric bills (anywhere from $6,000 to $18,000).
Just like space tourism, more people will use it once it becomes practical.

----
Step 1> Convert computer glare into useful electricity. Step 2> ??? Step 3> PROFIT!

Re:Its all about the cost (1)

Misch (158807) | about 11 years ago | (#6955305)

Sometimes people look beyond ROI when making decisions. There is an intangiable price that some people will put on "being green" or "being green friendly." Of course, this price tag may vary for different companies, but often times it can be chalked up to "public goodwill".

How much electricity? (5, Insightful)

wmspringer (569211) | about 11 years ago | (#6955131)

This looks pretty cool, but reading through the article I don't really see exactly how much eletricity these will produce per window. Will they make a significant dent in the power costs for a typical household? The cells may only be a quarter each, but how much will it cost to embed them in the windows and collect the power?

Re:How much electricity? (1)

Misch (158807) | about 11 years ago | (#6955324)

You're right, we don't know what the net effect is, but I'll note you get a double boost in the summer. When you capture photons at the window and generate electricity from them, not only do you get the power, you're also reducing the heat entering the building.

Same idea as a green rooftop [tompaine.com] .

Hmm... considering that windows with greater surface area exposed to the sun would be better for generating more electricity, I wonder if we'll see more buildings like this one [skyscrapers.com] .

Windows inside.... (5, Funny)

Theory of Everything (696787) | about 11 years ago | (#6955132)

Let the jokes about windows powered computers begin.... I'll start: I want to be the first to have a "linux box powered by windows".

Re:Windows inside.... (-1, Offtopic)

3dvideo (633856) | about 11 years ago | (#6955164)

Lol love it! d

WTB: Venus 2000 (preferably used) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955136)

there goes the flow (1, Funny)

name773 (696972) | about 11 years ago | (#6955137)

what do the feng shui people think of this?

Window? (4, Funny)

PS-SCUD (601089) | about 11 years ago | (#6955139)

A window, that isn't on my screen, hmmm.....Oh, you mean my outside awareness portal.

Re:Window? (1)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955202)

I don't like that window, it seems to always have a BSOD and I can't figure out how to reboot it.

Re:Window? (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 11 years ago | (#6955308)

Outside awareness portal? So you still think the images you see there are real? pfft...

1 cm^2 every 1ft^2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955141)

i'm confused. the article says that these are one cm^2 every 1 ft^2, and then says that they don't obstruct the view.

i'm fine there, but what gets me is, the article then says that this will eliminate the glare on monitors. with a cross-section that small, how could it eliminate *that* much light?

See guys... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955148)

Do a Google search on solar cell window [google.com] and you quickly realize that this is an old idea.

Korea's into it. [etri.re.kr]

Oberlin too [oberlin.edu] .

Apparently, Durham as well. [dur.ac.uk]

But what's important this time I guess is that it's a woman who "discovered" the idea.

And because women are equal to men, an equal number of discoveries must be credited to women.

Re:See guys... (4, Insightful)

bourne (539955) | about 11 years ago | (#6955211)

Do a Google search on solar cell window and you quickly realize that this is an old idea.

Absolutely. Very old idea. However, do a Google search on commercially available products in this space and you quickly realize that this an old idea that hasn't really been commercially developed. You could chalk that up to the dangerous imprecations of the 'old girls' network, but I think it's just a problem that hasn't been solved yet in a cost-effective manner. Which is why money is still being spent looking into it.

But what's important this time I guess is that it's a woman who "discovered" the idea.

I don't see why you would conclude that. I can think of two reasons this article might be important:

  • This design appears to have commercial viability. 50% efficiency, 25 cents per cell? Depending on how many cells are required per window, that could be remarkably viable on the market.
  • The university/sponsors/whatever made a press release or an article placement, which sounds really neat but is effectively vapor until a product ships. This happens quite often with Solar technologies (and, of course, other things). However, people like to post these things, and Solar windows make a nice follow up to the recent power grid issues.

Note that those two options are not mutually exclusive.

Re:See guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955238)

You could chalk that up to the dangerous imprecations of the 'old girls' network...

Or, you could chalk it up to the need by some guys to do whatever it takes to differentiate themselves from other guys.

And this would include humoring women in their quest for legislated equality at the expense of all those other guys.

Re:See guys...it's on wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955259)

Thats why it is important. Wired is covering it.

NarratorDan

A lot of /.ers will have zero power bills w/ these (4, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | about 11 years ago | (#6955155)

seeing as how many seem to live in glass houses...

Re:A lot of /.ers will have zero power bills w/ th (1)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955171)

Ha ha, jjeffries you old wit -- you've done it again!

Re:A lot of /.ers will have zero power bills w/ th (1)

psxndc (105904) | about 11 years ago | (#6955323)

What are you talking about? This will not affect anything. We all live in our parent's basement which doesn't have windows to begin with. ;-p

psxndc

Well, (3, Funny)

MoronGames (632186) | about 11 years ago | (#6955156)

I don't really trust Windows to power my computers.

Lighting looks pretty uneven (4, Insightful)

tessaiga (697968) | about 11 years ago | (#6955158)

Check out the pictures to the left of [wired.com] the main story. There's a noticeable difference in light intensity between parts of the window with clear glass and those with the embedded miniature solar panel, leading to a mosaic light pattern. This sort of thing is fine (and maybe even artsy) for an office foyer, but won't be widely adopted in office windows (which make up the majority of downtown buildings) because it's horrible for reading or working in. Your eyes can't tell if they should adjust for the bright or dark spots.

Re:Lighting looks pretty uneven (1)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955187)

Yeah, and what would those new glasses that adjust to the lighting (you know the ones that tint when in sunlight) do if the room had a checkerboard of light and dark?

Re:Lighting looks pretty uneven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955244)

They're all artists renderings... But, it probably wouldn't be all that different from shutters we have today

3 Women... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955162)

3 Women are lost walking thru the desert. They're rescued by a news crew, who interview them all after being found.
The first woman is carrying a bottle of water "So that I can take a drink if I get thirsty."
The second woman is carrying break "So I can eat if i get hungry"
The third woman is carrying a car door "So I can roll down the window if i get too hot..."

windows !?! (1)

da007 (242994) | about 11 years ago | (#6955163)

Windows makes me glare.

Re:windows !?! (0, Offtopic)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955197)

Moderate with threshhold set to -1 to spot abuse.

finally, a favorable story about Windows (1)

ruebarb (114845) | about 11 years ago | (#6955175)

never thought I'd see the day Slashdot praised Windows.....LOL

seriously, though...energy is everything we need...from producing food to finding water (or desalinating the oceans as will probably be necessary) we need energy to make this work....

therefore...this is a very good thing...esp. taking buildings off the grid...

on the other hand, if this really does hit 80-100% efficency as predicted in the article by scientists, I can see a lot of servers and CO-LO's relocating to the Equator...LOL

pax
RB

Re:finally, a favorable story about Windows (1)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955204)

LOL!

ruebarb, you are surely a man after my own heart!

Confusing technology (1, Insightful)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955176)

How can the window both let the light trough and get energy from it? I really want to see the technology behind that bit of genious. I understand how a dam uses the movement of the water for energy but to suck the energy out of light is blowing my mind.

Re:Confusing technology (2, Insightful)

rritterson (588983) | about 11 years ago | (#6955210)

If the energy extracted doesn't come from the visible light spectrum, and the material doesn't interact with visible light, it will simply pass through unaffected. Seeing as how UV light has much more energy per photon than visible light, this seems likely.

Re:Confusing technology (1)

TLouden (677335) | about 11 years ago | (#6955285)

That's a good point, and if the UV is used then we wouldn't have to worry about getting burned or getting skin cancer, right?

Re:Confusing technology (1)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | about 11 years ago | (#6955306)

It's tracking direct sunlight. Which would mean that most of the stuff that doesn't come in on that angle, i.e. sunlight bouncing off everything else you see, gets let in.

Ah, what the hell do I know? It sounds cool and we wants it.

Here's a good site dealing with solar power (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955177)

link [jew-unit.com]

Re:Here's a good site dealing with solar power (1)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 11 years ago | (#6955188)

Joule Electronics Workshop -- we read about this in social studies. A lot of interesting ideas coming out of there, but ever since Exxon purchased them, they haven't been delivering on the alternative energy stuff anymore.

Should this even be legal??? It's like when GM bought and decommissioned all the trolley cars to further their monopoly!

Why windows? (0)

annisette (682090) | about 11 years ago | (#6955186)

Why not cover the outside of the buildings with the solar disk and leave the windows for what they were ment for...pressing our faces against while we are convinced someone else is having a better time out there.

Just what I need (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955194)

to power my flying car. Seriously, are we to believe that they are producing solar cells aproaching 100%efficiency in converting sunlight to energy, when the one's they use in our spy satellites only approach 35% ? I hope it is true , but seems like it could just be a publicity stunt fishing for venture capital. I mean it is alot easier to raise money once you get your story published in the mainstream media.

Windows (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955198)

They say that if you put a Windows install CD in backwards you hear satanic messages. But the real scary part is that if put in forwards, it installs Windows.

Re:Windows (0, Redundant)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 11 years ago | (#6955232)

LOL!! Off topic but ROTFLMAO!!

Amazing (5, Interesting)

rritterson (588983) | about 11 years ago | (#6955199)

I'm a little skeptical of the technology. It seems like they are just repositioning solar panels in a novel way so that they are integrated into the existing decor. However, the best common solar panels today are only 20% efficient and the common ones you see on houses are only 10% efficient. For the researcher to generally state 'way more than 50%' rings alarm bells in my head.

Does anyone know why these would be so much better than existing tech?

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

kaan (88626) | about 11 years ago | (#6955249)

> For the researcher to generally state 'way more than 50%' rings alarm bells in my head.

I'm with you on this one, as it seems highly suspicious that this group has been able to produce ultra-efficient solar cells. Beyond that, I don't see the point of integrating these panels into a window - that just seems complex, unnecessary, and certainly has to be more expensive than a regular window paired with a stand-alone solar cell.

My take is that this idea will not succeed. Nobody will be willing to spend the money to replace the windows in existing buildings, and future construction will probably not be interested in spending more money for integrated solar-window things without some reality to back up these efficiency claims.

I knew RPI architecture people (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 11 years ago | (#6955208)

And they're all flakes. I went to RPI, and the architecture people, the ones who stayed in, delighted in designing buildings that wouldn't stand. The real builders became Building Science majors and or Civil Engineers. 'way more than 50 percent' efficiency sounds typical of the culture there. Spin, FUD, esoteric crap, let the Engineers figure out how to make it work.

I don't believe it for a second (4, Insightful)

repetty (260322) | about 11 years ago | (#6955209)

I don't believe this story for a second. Not a bit.

For decades I have been folowing solar cell technology, absolutely salivating at the promises that efficiency rating would soon rise above 15%.

Well, I've given up. I've read shitty pie-in-the-sky stories like this almost every year for the last 25-years.

Now, if someone on Slashdot tells me that they bought these +50% efficient solar cells in Home Depot, that's when I'll get excited. Like I'll get excited when Chevrolet markets a flying car or my city puts a nuclear fusion power plant into service.

Chill out guys, it ain't real 'till it's real.

--Richard

Bullhoey(energy conversion rates) (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 11 years ago | (#6955213)

Energy conversion rates are 'way more than 50 percent'

Bullshit. Current conversion rates are about 18%, and haven't changed much in 20 years or more; they've slowly managed to squeek out more and more power getting up to the current 18-20%, but nowhere near 50%. Let's put this in perspective- it would be like someone claiming they could get 100mpg in their car, and "easily 200mpg".

The bullshit-o-meter goes off the scale at the claim they can get "100%"- and there's one very simple, indisputable reason; the glass itself blocks a significant amount of energy- ESPECIALLY at a low angle of incidence, where the outer glass is going to reflect a large percentage of the light hitting it. The modules inside the window may pivot, but the outer glass doesn't.

The bullshit-o-meter EXPLODES at the nice little bit about how they won't discuss specific energy conversion rates in detail. It doesn't help that this is being published in Science for People Who Think They're Trendy(aka Wired). Ring me when she's published results in Nature or (gasp) a professional journal.

Oh, and if I wasn't pessimistic enough :-)...if this actually DOES pan out...just wait until you see the price tag on 'em, because I'm sure she's going to patent absolutely everything out to wazoo, and one company will get exclusive rights. It'll also be years before we see 'em, as said company will want to protect its investment on current solar panel technology...

Re:Bullhoey(energy conversion rates) (2, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | about 11 years ago | (#6955269)

My bullshit meter pegged at the 100% claim also. You notice there's absolutely no discussion as to how those miraculous little window shades are wired together, or at what voltage they're running at. Are they all in series? If so, do they suffer from the traditional "shade one cell, knock out the whole string" problem?

Multi-junction tech is a cool idea for making existing designs more efficient. However, this whole revolutionizing building technology sounds like grant-related PR to me.

Re:Bullhoey(energy conversion rates) (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | about 11 years ago | (#6955280)

The bullshit-o-meter goes off the scale at the claim they can get "100%"- and there's one very simple, indisputable reason; the glass itself blocks a significant amount of energy- ESPECIALLY at a low angle of incidence, where the outer glass is going to reflect a large percentage of the light hitting it. The modules inside the window may pivot, but the outer glass doesn't.
So you're saying that a generator inside of a window can only work with light that's actually going through the window? Wow. I learn something every day.

This sounds oh so familiar. (1)

OS24Ever (245667) | about 11 years ago | (#6955215)

What ever happens to these cool sounding 'free' energy things? I've read countless articles in Wired and other magazines that never seem to come to fruition. I seem to remember things like this in the past but never see them when I look out my window...

When this hits the market I'll buy! (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 11 years ago | (#6955218)

I'm all for saving money for one, less pollution, and putting the filthy, greedy bastard electric companies out of business.

I'm tired of being ass raped every month with a broken bottle and a pound of sand.

My last electric bill was $195.00
$85 was my actual usage and the rest was a "Cost of fuel adjustment"

Well Entergy, adjust this up your ass. Your days are numbered. You are a dinosaur and we will bury you like the dinosaurs.

Free, clean energy for all..

Re:When this hits the market I'll buy! (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 11 years ago | (#6955299)

"You are a dinosaur and we will bury you like the dinosaurs."

And in a few thousand years, we'll dig you up and burn you in our cars like the dinosaurs. How you like them apples?

Re:When this hits the market I'll buy! (1)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | about 11 years ago | (#6955314)

Well, bear in mind, the dead dinosaurs then got pumped out of the ground and you are now being 'ass raped every month with a broken bottle and a pound of sand' by people wielding them.

Who cares about windows? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 11 years ago | (#6955242)

Ultimately, Dyson is confident her team's solar cells can reach nearly 100 percent efficiency -- compared with typical solar panels' conversion rate of less than 20 percent.

If by some miracle that claim is true, it could change the world. People have been striving for decades to eke out a couple more percent efficiency out of solar collectors. This would be a major breakthrough. The last thing anybody would worry about is sticking these >90% efficient cells in a window shade; they'd be deploying massive arrays of them in the desert for power production at costs below conventional power plants.

However, since they seem to be focusing on windows, something tells me that the claim is less than accurate.

Here's a thought... (1)

Erick the Red (684990) | about 11 years ago | (#6955248)

Instead of absorbing energy from light passing through windows (and reducing the amount of light you get in your building), why don't you put solar cells around the windows on the outside walls. Or on your roof... This seems like a complicated way of generating electricity when a similar simple solution already exists.

Near 100%? (2, Insightful)

AsmordeanX (615669) | about 11 years ago | (#6955251)

Um, yeah right.

Even 50% is staggering. Heck even 35% would have been quite impressive. Why is my BS meter hovering around MEG right now?

Don't get me wrong, I know they work and are real but I seriously doubt the efficentcies they claim.

Junk Science (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 11 years ago | (#6955273)

I worked for years at the Solarex plant in Virginia that pioneered trying to make thin-film photovoltaics cost-efective. Our corporate parents finally pulled the plug last year when our latest amorphous silicon demonstration project came up with a 41% efficient panel that cost much more per watt to produce than nuclear. Now the only place you'll find them is on a few Coleman campers and a gas station pump island awning in Indiana.

Thin-film technology held a lot of promise, but that's all it was. File it away with global warming and cold fusion under "BS".

My bullshit meter is twitching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955279)


"Ultimately, Dyson is confident her team's solar cells can reach nearly 100 percent efficiency"

Re:My bullshit meter is twitching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955310)

Twiching, Mine is jumping back and forth wildly and is bending.

Focus? Eh? (1)

Aerion (705544) | about 11 years ago | (#6955297)

Here's a simile from the article:
The little squares shift like automated, almost invisible Venetian blinds.
Later:
But there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. These photovoltaic window shades quietly capture the sun's rays of heat and light, focusing them into the small silicon squares, also called solar chips.
Wait, but I thought the "window shades" were the "small silicon squares" ... so how can they focus the rays onto themselves? That paragraph makes it sound like the solar cells are capturing much more light than they ought to.

It's Windows(r) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6955309)

subj,

sorry but solar cells aren't perfect (1)

strider3700 (109874) | about 11 years ago | (#6955315)

I'm seeing a few posts mentioning clean or environmentally friendly power. After production solar cells do give you that, however the last time I check the production of solar cells resulted in large amounts of toxic material. They probably end up being better then coal plants but not as clean as nuclear or my personal favorite solar heat plants. This isn't meaning to sound like a bash. I fully intend to use solar cells on my new home, I just wanted people to realize that nothings perfect.

As for the article, as others have pointed out, those efficiency rates are too good to be true. However I remember hearing that some key patents on solar cells are close to or have already expired. Perhaps some of those methods have allowed for some gain. I truely doubt that 100% is ever going to be possible, and I'd be happy with 35%.
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