This special paint could allow buildings to generate electricity

This special paint could allow buildings to generate electricity

Australian researchers have developed a solar paint. It will be enough to paint the walls of his house so that it generates electricity.

After the panels, the photovoltaic painting. You whitewash the walls of your house and they become a source of energy. Several teams of researchers are working on the subject, using nanotechnology. Latest project to date, that of the University of Melbourne. The process is quite complex, but basically this paint they have developed contains a compound called synthetic molybdenum sulfate, which has the ability to act as a semiconductor. It will absorb the sun’s rays but also the humidity contained in the ambient air, and from this it will produce electricity, which can be used to power electrical appliances in the house. To summarize, it is enough to cover the wall of his house with this special paint, and he becomes able to produce energy.

And not only. Its inventors believe that potentially any surface could be painted and transformed into a generator of electricity. Offices, supermarkets, a fence that just needs to be painted to make it electric, a lamppost to turn on, or an electric car that uses paint on the bodywork to power the battery. For the moment we are still in the research phase, the commercialization should arrive within a few years, and the researchers do not specify the energy yield, which is often the big problem with solar. But this solar paint – which would be very inexpensive – could complement the photovoltaic panels found on the roofs (self-consumption). If we are preparing for an ever sunnier France, it is a rather attractive solution.

Cool roofing and warming paint

This summer, we also talked a lot about these white paints that lower the temperature in case of great heat. And here too there are interesting innovations. There is this technique which comes from the United States called “cool roofing” and which makes it possible to lower the bill, by avoiding excessive use of the air conditioning systems. Enormous success, for example, of the Nantes start-up Enercool. With a roof painting, the interior temperature is lowered by 6 degrees in the event of strong heat and the costs linked to air conditioning are reduced by 40%. Just by painting. White paint, but above all so-called reflective paint designed with special pigments that reflect the sun’s rays, including infrared, up to more than 80%.

A technology originally used by NASA for its thrusters to protect them from the sun’s rays. Very popular including with the administrations, the metropolis of Nantes for example has started to adopt it. But also on residential buildings in the Paris region. On purchase, count 20 euros per square meter, which is much cheaper than conventional thermal insulation.

It’s good for the summer, but what does it look like in the winter? There for once, it is necessary to bet on paints not exterior, but interior of new generation. And there again it is quite magical. Another French company has developed a paint called Tempolis, which stores heat during the day and releases it at night. It is an SME based in Trégueux in the Côtes d’Armor which has developed this rather brilliant device. Thanks to what is called a phase change material, as soon as the temperature in the room exceeds 23 degrees, the coating will store, trap this heat and gradually release it when the temperature begins to drop, typically in the evening. . It works summer and winter. It costs a little more than traditional paint, but the investment is amortized quickly since, according to its creators, it would save 10 to 15% on your electricity bill per year.

By Anthony Morel, edited by DL

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