Researcher Sandra Casillas from the Technological Institute of La Laguna (ITL), in Torreón, Coahuila, México; has managed to patent 20 projects, and an example of her work is the design of two Tandem cells that will transform the windows on your house into solar panels capable of capturing up to eight volts of energy per square meter and recharge electronic devices. This material is also transparent and allows visibility.
Sandra Casillas, professor at ITL explains that for this project she combined two materials to create the cells and increase effectiveness by capturing energy. The first is made of copper and zinc, and the second is made of selenium and tellurium, the latter is more efficient due to the driving characteristics of metals.
Its benefits are instant, so you only need to place in the window and connect two small copper wires to make use of energy. “The Tandem cells are 30 percent cheaper than conventional and right now you can only buy them in Europe”, the specialist said.
She also said that the square meter will cost 350 pesos (approximately $22 USD), which is less expensive than solar cells that are designed with a space to store energy.
The researcher says that the creation of the cell’s film was based on food packages, which consist of three layers together. “We use this technology in the Tandem cell to generate transparent polymer layers and then electricity passes through them“.
She took plastic SBS (Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene) as a reference, which allows the passage of oxygen on both sides of the glass and you can see through it, even if there is much humidity in the room, it does not condensate. “What we did was to put nanoparticles of different materials and a magnesium tunnel between glass and cell, so the window does not warm up“.
Casillas explained that this material was used after the attacks of September 11 in the United States. “Americans did not like receiving vegetables in packaging with holes to prevent oxidation, so they used SBS instead, which allows oxygen to pass through, so the vegetables keep well preserved“.
Sandra Casillas, is the organizer of the “Expo Science Coahuila, Durango Norte”, and she declares that there is little financial support for scientific research in the city of Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico.
Such is the case of Peñoles Industry (producer of minerals), which provided the magnesium, selenium and tellurium metals with which the two Tandem cells were manufactured; however, the project barely received any funding from the “Fund for Scientific Research and Technology” (FONCyT), and the funding was just enough to cover the latest laboratory tests and obtain patents.
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