WA-designed clear glass solar windows gear up for production

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WA company gears up to commercialise its “world-first” clear glass solar windows, with listing on ASX.

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Perth-based building-integrated solar PV company, ClearVue Technologies, is gearing up to sell its solar energy harvesting clear glass windows around the world, starting with the company’s impending float on the national stock market.

The company, which has developed the technology in conjunction with the Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) at Edith Cowan University, is hoping to raise up to $A6 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Australian Stock Exchange, launched on March 6.

The goal is to sell 25 million shares at $A0.20c a piece, and a further 5 million shares to cover over-subscriptions. The closing date for the IPO is April 6, with trading on the ASX set to begin on April 25.

The concept of BIPV is nothing new – although it is yet to really make its mark on the global renewables market.

A number of research institutions and companies – including Australia’s own Dyesol – have been working away at low-cost, commercially viable BIPV solutions, including printable perovskite solar cells.

And Tesla’s Elon Musk is also in on the game, with his solar roofing tiles – although production and installation of these has been delayed, and questions linger over their cost and efficiency.

ClearVue’s Rosenberg, left, with a prototype of the company’s solar window

ClearVue’s patented nano technology differs from others in that it generates electricity from a flat, clear sheet of glass while maintaining transparency – a quality the company’s executive chairman, Victor Rosenberg, has described as a game-changer.

“Nobody actually has got clear glass,” he said in comments in March last year. “They’ve got either lines or they’ve got dots, or looks like a chessboard with squares of solar panels on the glass.

“We are today, I would proudly say, the only commercial-size clear glass super building material producer.

“Our technology presents a paradigm shift in the way glass will be used in building construction, automobiles, agriculture and speciality products,” Rosenberg said in a statement this week.

“Glass will no longer be just a component of construction but also a renewable energy resource.”

As the company’s website explains it, the technology uses a special “spectral filter” film that allows around 70 per cent of natural light to pass through the window.

Meanwhile, around 90 per cent of UV and infrared rays are blocked, or reflected by “inorganic nanoparticles” to the edges of the glass, where they are collected by PV cells that produce electricity.

The company says the windows can currently generate a minimum of 30W per square metre, while also providing insulation from heat and cold, and UV control. With further R&D, they expect generation to reach 50W per square metre.

According to Rosenberg, the company is currently at the pre-development stage, with production of expected to begin within the next two months.

It plans to initally target customers in the agricultural and greenhouse sectors and in the building and construction industries. It is even working on a prototype greenhouse that has the ability to generate its own energy for desalination and lighting.

“Some of our major milestones have been in January 2018,” he told Finance News Network.

“We’ve just signed a collaboration and research agreement with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, as well as a university in Jerusalem. And they will be working on a research leading towards the printing of solar cells,” he said.

The company also has a manufacturing partner in China called ROCKY Glass, which will be making the windows initially, Rosenberg said, with ClearVue looking to licence the product throughout the world.

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24 Comments
  1. Chris Drongers 6 months ago

    GreatcellSolar (ex Dyesol, ex Sustainable Technologies Australia ) has been trying to get thin film solar windows going for over twenty years. GSL is currently suspended from trading on the ASX as it searches (yet again) for more money to head off running out of cash (yet again).
    While the tech from Curtin is radically different (the solar cells are in the window frame with the magic switchable, reflecting ingredient being a coating/mix of nano-something) the 3-5% efficiency is not going to set the world alight or give a reasonable payback .The sideffect of UV and IR blocking is probably worth more.
    Australian tech companies have a bad habit of going to the listed market too early before their product is viable when they might be better off with angel investor early stage funding.
    Good luck anyway.

    • Brian Tehan 6 months ago

      I don’t know… If the price is right and you can cover a skyscraper with this stuff, efficiency per square metre isn’t a big issue.

      • solarguy 6 months ago

        Agreed Brian.

      • Mark Roest 6 months ago

        If there is almost any charge for the PV aspect of the window, it’s in addition to the opportunity cost of not having far more PV generation from the building.
        Except that no one else seems to be there either. So an idea whose time has not yet come, but could some day soon.

        • Brian Tehan 6 months ago

          The more efficient it is, the more light it will block. Look at a solar panel. The advantage of this technology is that it has little or no effect on the glass transparency. In any case they’re talking about getting efficiency up to 5%, which is 1/3 of a solar panel – quite good.

      • Bob Belcher 6 months ago

        yeah but when 1 square meter will barely power a light bulb …

  2. Ryan 6 months ago

    Sounds good although 30W per square meter is a lot less than normal PV panels. Presumably some room for improvement with the efficiency of future models.

    • Peter 6 months ago

      30W/m^2 at what time of day and of year and in what latitude?

      • Brian Tehan 6 months ago

        Direct insolation is around 1 kW per square metre,so it’s about 3% efficient at the moment. But then again, they can increase it to 5 easily and it’s covering vast areas of commercial buildings. If the price is right, it could be an excellent product.

        • Peter 6 months ago

          Again, at what time and on what date? Or is this an annual average? NASA gives 3340 Wh/m^2/day for the
          – “Annual Average” of the
          – “Monthly Averaged Radiation Incident On An Equator-Pointed Tilted Surface (kWh/m2/day)”
          – tilted at 90°
          – which is 139W/m^2 (dividing by 24h/day)

          (See https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/sse/grid.cgi)
          Latitude 32°S, longitude 116°E for Perth

          • solarguy 6 months ago

            Peter, Tech like this usually works almost as good from indirect light. I will endeavour to find out if this is the case with this one.

          • Peter 6 months ago

            Thanks. At 20% PV efficiency, one would get 28 W/m^2 annual average. So, I thought their figure was either very good performance or some particular figure.

            I also like their high transparency for visible over the UV and IR. So, the performance as glass (good light, low heat transmission) would be excellent, too.

          • Mark Roest 6 months ago

            I think at 20% of 1000 W/m^2 you get 200W, and at 20% of 3340 W/m^2 you get 668W/m^2/day, not 28. The product needs to do way better to be ready for sale.

          • Peter 6 months ago

            The 28 W/m^2 is the annual average power density, namely the average of the energy received in 365 x 24 = 8760 hours. It is a useful quantity, just as the 1000 W/m^2 is a useful quantity. I was asking what quantity the 30 W/m^2 was relative to.

            As to whether it is ready for sale, that would depend on its price to performance ratio. There is a lot of glass out there, and vertical installation would do well in winter in such a latitude.

          • Steve 6 months ago

            I think it is interesting to turn this on its head. It is a window that absorbs energy. The alternative is:

            – energy travels through the window like regular residential windows (good in winter, bad in summer); or

            – it is reflected into the environment like many commercial office blocks. These just make cities way hotter than they need to be.

            So the watts that get generated are not heat to be dissipated by air con, they are potential source of energy for cooling.

            Also, everyone has windows on their buildings. The cost / benefit is incidental over the cost of fittling the window in the first case.

            Of course all this gets defenestrated if the technology can’t be fit to double glazed windows….

          • Brian Tehan 6 months ago

            Yes, I have a physics degree and I’ve studied PV and I use the NASA stats. Watts is what we’re talking about – It’s always direct, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense. Direct sun generally accepted to be very close to 1 kW per square metre at the earth’s surface.
            1 kW per square metre directly on the glass produces 30W per square metre. Which would be 3% efficiency, which is about what you would expect for such technology, where the light is very indirect. If you have a huge area of glass (like a high rise office) and a good price, it could be worth doing, considering the other benefits as well.

          • Wallace 6 months ago

            On east and west facing windows there will be times during the day when incoming light is more direct. Additionally, by glazing E/W surfaces with solar the solar day is extended.

  3. Stan Hlegeris 6 months ago

    I applaud the technology and imagine it will find uses at high northern hemisphere latitudes. In most of Australia, however, a building in which sunlight strikes a window is a building badly designed. Far better to protect those windows with external shades, perhaps incorporating cheap conventional PV at 200W per square meter.

    • solarguy 6 months ago

      Stan, I agree with protecting windows from the sun too, but what if they can make a film to retro fit on the inside of a window? Seeing the infra red and UV can be blocked to a high extent, when the need comes to exclude more light the internal blinds can be drawn and reduce a/c needs further.

    • Hettie 6 months ago

      That’s a bit sweeping.. in the parts of Australia where winters are chilly, northern winter sun is a valuable contributor to comfort, especially if that sun strikes a floor of high thermal mass. Properly designed eaves will exclude the sun for whatever portion of the year is appropriate for the local climate, but admit it during the coolest months.
      Highland areas, the arid inland, even the Sydney area, Canberra and certainly all of Victoria need good winter sun to reduce heating costs.
      Windows to the east and west certainly need more shading than eaves can provide, but deciduous vines trained as a cutrain at the outer edge of 3 to 4 meter wide verandas, particularly on the east, provide delightful outdoor spaces in summer, and once the leaves drop, the morning sun warms the house very pleasantly. That free heat is worth far more than 3W of power per squ are metre. In domestic buildings. Office blocks are a different case altogether.

      • ZeroEmissionsNoosa 6 months ago

        I think Stan is referring to the northern half of Oz. Agree with you about lower latitudes. My Melbourne house we designed in the late seventies had eaves sized to exclude all summer sun, but flooded the living room with mid winter sunshine. Funny too that planting deciduous trees in front of the skinny but high westerly facing windows seemed to do the trick too.

        • Hettie 6 months ago

          I guess that for home builders who have purchased land with the street to the west, and who belong to that huge cohort convinced that if the major windows do not face the street their heads will fall off, this product would offer partial amelioration of their foolishness. But I doubt that such idots would be aware of the product, and until they try to live in their sauna, unaware of their need for it. By which time it is too late.

    • Ben Loveday 6 months ago

      I can imagine, in the future, different grades of this glass with higher efficiency/ less light transmittance for different latitudes. Also I can imagine a sunshade version, or even glass solar cell louvres external to the highrise window that track the sun for greater efficiency.

  4. Philip Woodgate 6 months ago

    I applaud this, but always hesitate with an expectation it will be implemented. Technology in research, all be it close, there are always hurdles and can fall down. Smart move joining up in Israel as a partner, they would have huge motivation to do this, imagine the benefits for them to make it work.

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