UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Bringing solar power to everyday products

18 February 2020

A new research publication by the Photonic Innovations Lab in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) details how solar power could be introduced to everyday products including walls, windows and furniture.

Mark Portnoi research on solar power

Research led by the Photonic Innovations Lab at UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) into the development of efficient flexible Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs) has been published in the journal Nano Energy. The paper demonstrates a combination of silicone based flexible wavelength selective mirrors and solar concentrators that could bring solar power to everyday products from walls and windows to outdoor furniture, tents and boat sails. 
In collaboration with the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, the research demonstrates scalable fabrication methods for an all-silicone based combination of flexible wavelength selective mirror and Luminescent Solar Concentrators. Flexibility in such devices widens the range of possible applications and fabrication methods. The research boasts devices with enhanced efficiency, and a severely reduced dependence of efficiency on curvature, providing a pathway to large-scale consumer products. 
Lead author, Mark Portnoi, says:

Luminescent Solar Concentrators are an exciting way for us to start bringing solar energy generation to areas of our lives we wouldn’t usually expect to see it. Architects we’ve spoken to are excited to see such a technology with so much design freedom, to use on new building facades. We hope our work will lay the foundations to bring more applications in to play, perhaps peaking the interest of designers of industries such as sports and leisure.

The Photonic Innovations Lab, led by Prof Ioannis Papakonstantinou, is based in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL. The Lab’s focus is understanding the interactions between light and materials on the nanoscale. 

Full paper available at: doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2020.104507