Let’s face it. New tech is very, very cool. Cell phones, tablets, renewable energy advancements, self-parking cars, self-driving cars, streaming television, wireless Bluetooth devices . . . and the list goes on. Well, there is no shortage of new tech when it comes to the window tinting world as well.
Specifically, in the last few years, we have been seeing the evolution of “smart window” tint technology. That is technology in which a window will change its own tint based upon the sun’s energy and will even take that energy and convert it into electricity. It is truly amazing stuff.
So, in this article we will talk a bit about the latest developments in smart window tint tech, and speculate as to what smart window tech will mean for vehicles in the future.
At Tint Tech, we specialize in auto and residential window tint films. But, we also keep our eye on the tech horizon. Our specialists at Tint Tech are always aware of the latest tech breakthroughs, and we are excited about the new kind of smart windows that darken in the sun and generate electricity.
If you want to learn more about what Tint Tech, Calgary’s window tinting experts, can do for you now with regard to saving energy by using state-of-the-art window tinting film call us at 403-968-8468. Also, contact us if you would like to learn more about the smart window tinting technology of tomorrow.
The Solar Power of Tomorrow with “Perovskites”
Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski, back in 1839, discovered minerals that he aptly called perovskites. These crystalline compounds are now instrumental in the solar power revolution.
Specifically, solar cells made from perovskites are nearly as efficient as the silicon solar panels currently in use today. The best perovskite solar cells can convert over 22% of the sunlight’s energy into electricity, whereas silicon cells can covert around 25%.
The key, however, is that cells made from perovskites are much cheaper than their silicon counterparts. That fact may push the solar energy world into high gear. Given the state of our environment, that might be just what we need to help the environment.
Windows that are Smart When Using the Sun’s Energy
Taking the solar harnessing power of perovskites one step further, perovskites can be the compound that leads to “smart windows.”
In general, a “smart window” is a window that can change from transparent to opaque based on the amount of sunlight and temperature interacting with it. The warmer the window gets, the darker the window becomes to keep a home or car interior cool. Skyscraper buildings in city centers can truly benefit from such technology, and they can enjoy significant energy savings. In the past, there were other attempts at smart window technology that did not use perovskites, where the window would transition based on temperature, but it was costly and inconsistent.
Further, “smart windows” using perovskites can also harness the power of the sun to generate electricity. As noted, the solar cells using perovskites are almost as efficient as silicon panels. So, combining tinting technology with solar power technology, perovskites are truly the key to the smart windows of the future.
How Do Smart Windows Function?
About one year ago, researchers developed a lead-based perovskite solar window that transitioned from transparent to opaque when the temperature hit 60 degrees Celsius. When it is cool, the perovskite material forms a complex with another compound called methylamine. The window is clear when that complex is formed.
However, as the surrounding temperature increases, the methylamine vaporizes and separates from the perovskite, and the perovskite gets darker and absorbs sunlight. Then, at night when it gets cooler, the methylamine vapor re-bonds with the perovskite and the window becomes clear again. The chemical reactions that result in such practical applications are fascinating.
Notably when the perovskite is absorbing sunlight as it is tinted darker, it is not as efficient as the perovskite cells discussed earlier. The warmed perovskite tinted window can transform about 11.3% of the sunlight energy into electricity.
Any Smart Window Disadvantages?
The technology is there, but it is not quite ready for prime time. The solar efficiency of the solar windows drops after only a few transitions from light to dark. That is most likely because the methylamine does not re-bond with the perovskite very well, and the bonding worsens each time.
Thus, researchers are looking for perovskite-based smart windows that do not use methylamine. One chemist reports that cesium-based perovskite solar windows, that do not use methylamine, allow for windows that can switch from transparent to dark with no loss of performance over time.
However, the cesium-based windows have different issues.
They do not go from clear to dark unless the heat is more than 100 degrees Celsius, and their solar harnessing efficiency is only at 7%, which is far less than conventional solar cells. Also, perovskite windows have a reddish hue to them when they are dark, and colored windows are not a favorite among builders.
In sum, smart windows are here, but not quite ready. The latest attempts, however, give a glimpse at what the future could look like – office buildings and homes that have windows that both provide shade when the sun is strong and can convert the sunlight to electricity to power the office building or home. Imagine what life would be like without the need for electric wires coming into your home, or the need for oil to heat your home or office.
Talk about Energy Saving Window Tint Options with the Pros at Tint Tech
With our knowledge of state-of-the-art protective film technology, we can protect your vehicle from sun and heat damage, and from chips and scuffs on your vehicle’s paint. We also increase the security of your glass and add privacy for car and home windows. And we can do it all for less money than you think.
Every tint pro at Tint Tech is a protective film specialist in Calgary who will see your project through from start to finish. With over 45 years of combined experience among our professionals, Tint Tech guarantees that our work will be of the highest quality, while ensuring your ultimate satisfaction. Call today to learn more at 1-403-968-8468, or be sure to fill out our online contact form.