Among the most interesting applications of the luminescent solar concentrators there is the photovoltaic window, a system that using the concentrators in the glazed part is able to produce electricity without losing the essential characteristic of a window, that is transparency. The ENI - Donegani Research Center for Non-Conventional Energy works there, for example, which has produced an application for recharging electric bikes installed at the ENI headquarters in Rome.
If the window panes will produce electricity, what will the solar panels be for? Well, let's not exaggerate… actually i luminescent solar concentrators they are still in the experimental phase and today the energy produced by one photovoltaic window it is not comparable to that of a panel, even if we are talking about a net increase: from zero (the glass of a window in its passive function) to keeping a light bulb on and something more (without sacrificing the transparency of the glass).
Currently research on renewable solar energy is committed to the goal of making the costs of electricity from photovoltaic comparable with those from fossil sources and i luminescent solar concentrators certainly go in this direction. The Italian scientific outpost is, as mentioned, the ENI - Donegani Research Center for Non-Conventional Energy.
In particular, ENI has developed and patented numerous fluorescent dyes which, inserted in sheets of low cost transparent material such as plastic or glass, act as spectrum converters. These dyes absorb part of the sunlight in the visible and ultraviolet region and emit it inside the plate in a different spectral region where the traditional Photovoltaic cells silicon are more sensitive.
What happens is that much of the radiation emitted undergoes a series of reflections inside the plate to concentrate at the edges where it is absorbed by Photovoltaic cells small size that generate electricity. In the ENI laboratories, research on luminescent solar concentrators joins the synthesis of organic, polymeric and nano-structured materials for Photovoltaic cells low price.