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April 07, 2015

Weather could power new smart windows

A new approach to renewable energy could utilize the weather to power smart windows, according to Science magazine

Smart windows were developed as a way to cut back on energy costs as well as energy consumption by changing the tint of a window electronically, which can help control temperature and lighting.

The new technology would rely on changing weather conditions to power smart windows. Science magazine explains how it works:

The new glass uses nanosized generators powered by triboelectrics — the static electricity produced by friction when two materials touch. When activated, the generators, which rest in two layers atop a single pane of glass, create an electric current that tints the clear window a dark shade of blue.

Those generators are activated when contacted by rain, wind and other conditions. While the cost and logistics of this technology leave it far from commercialization, it has already been able to power a smartphone and pacemaker. Also, it's more energy efficient than windows powered by batteries and power outlets. 

Co-developer and nanoscientist Zhong Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta told Science that the goal is taking advantage of natural energy sources:

“The output power is a constant goal. Free energy surrounds us, and anything can happen if you harness it.”

Read the full story here.