Smart Glass Advancements Create Weather Controlled Color Changing Window

Wind turbine and solar technology have been at the vanguard of “green” energy innovation for many years, with numerous other technologies popping up as research continues. Now green tech includes amazing generators that run on tidal currents and clean biofuel transportation like nitrogen and electric powered cars.

Green energy research has definitely entered a renaissance, producing fantastic feats of scientific discovery to help make our environment safe and sustainable. One of the most notable of these recent advances was in the realm of Smart Glass technology.

Smart Glass technology is glass that changes its qualities to block out heat or light to make spaces more energy efficient. It’s not necessarily new technology, Smart Glass has been around for decades but it is expensive and many are still looking for more eco-friendly ways to help power these smart windows. In the past they’ve had to be powered via wall-plug which isn’t exactly “green”, and embedded solar panels are not transparent and would obstruct the window.

Thankfully, scientists have finally discovered a potential solution to this problem through the use of nanotechnology. Now certain kinds of smart glass are powered by triboelectrics. Triboelectrics is the static electricity produced by friction when two materials touch. When this electric current is generated through the smart glass window it tints the clear glass to a dark shade of blue.

How? By harvesting static electricity from rain drops, of course! As a raindrop falls, the friction between the water and the air creates a positive charge. When the droplet strikes this new and improved smart glass the charge is collected by nanoscopic pyramids made from a negatively charged silicone which produces an electric current. In case, you live somewhere where the sun always shines, there is a second layer of nanogenerators that are also able to harvest kinetic energy from the wind. Pretty cool, right?

Tests of this new smart glass’s ability has shown that the glass is currently capable of producing up to 130 milliwatts of electricity per square meter which is enough to power a pacemaker or a smartphone on standby. Larger panes of glass can of course generate larger amounts of electricity which means there could be a number of future applications like a possible power source for a residence or office electronics.

The research and development team behind this has done splendid work but there’s still some hurdles to overcome before this self-sustaining smart glass is ready for commercialization. As of right now there is no way for the glass to store the energy it creates, but solutions have been raised like the addition of a transparent supercapacitor that would enable it to store the electricity it creates and not impact visibility. Additionally, the team wants to increase the nanogenerator’s energy efficiency even more before releasing this new step in green tech to the public.

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