Concrete generates solar energy

The University of Kassel has developed a concrete that simultaneously functions as a photovoltaic cell. The innovative building material, called DysCrete, is particularly eco-friendly.

The concrete is coated with layers of titanium oxide, organic liquid, an electrolyte, graphite and a transparent surface. The concrete assumes the function of an electrode and the solar energy is transformed into electric power following the principles of photosynthesis.

The innovation is based on the principle of the dye-sensitised solar cell, which was developed by Swiss chemist Michael Grätzel from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), as an affordable alternative to the conventional silicon solar cell, explains Professor Thorsten Klooster of the University of Kassel.

“It is our goal to develop a material that can be employed in the construction industry in the future, e.g., for prefabricated components for building construction, façade elements and innovative wall systems,” says Professor Heike Klussman, who is leading the project together with Klooster. The team is aiming for an efficiency of approximately two per cent.

 

Photo credit: Blafield/Uni Kassel

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