University of Houston makes developments in self cleaning glass
Solar photovoltaic panels already require very little maintenance and now a special coating has been developed that enhances the self-cleaning properties of solar panel glass.
The Self-Cleaning Nano Hydrophobic layer, which has been developed by University of Houston physics professor Seamus Curran, is capable of repelling water and particles without causing any interference to the panel’s ability to absorb sunlight. Its self cleaning properties helps to keep the solar modules operating at the peak of their efficiency.
Curran, who joined the physics department in 2007, is the director of the university’s Institute For NanoEnergy, which was established in 2009 to develop breakthrough technologies in energy storage and solar and wind development. The nanoparticle coating will act as a barrier to protect against pollutants like dust, pollen and water which can soil solar panels. Aside from the efficiency aspect, maintenance and operational costs should be reduced.
“A dirty solar panel can reduce its power capabilities by up to 30%. The coating essentially makes the panel self-cleaning,” said Curran.
The coating, which is designed to last for years, is patent-pending and has undergone successful testing at the Dublin Institute for Technology, with field trials set to be conducted by a North Carolina engineering firm. The testing represents a step forward in getting the coating – which Curran developed in conjunction with his work on building mobile off-grid solar-powered generators – into the commercial marketplace.
C-Voltaics, who are dedicated in finding new ways to reduce costs associated with the servicing and maintenance of solar energy systems, have licensed the technology. Although designed to be utilised for solar modules Professor Curran believes the material could be employed as an anti-corrosive coating for other materials.