A painting could produce energy!

And if it was enough to paint your house with a photovoltaic paint to reduce your electricity bill? Researchers at the University of Melbourne, Australia, have invented a solar paint that would allow buildings to self-produce their own electricity, all at a reduced cost. A technology that could prove revolutionary, even if it is currently only at the prototype stage.

A painting could produce energy-iStock-Lakeview_Images

A promising technology

This photovoltaic paint is the result of the work of Australian researchers from the University of Melbourne. And it could well revolutionize the renewable energy sector. Concretely, this solar paint is capable of automatically generating electricity. A technological feat made possible thanks to its components, namely polymer plastic, nanoparticles of titanium oxide and a variant of synthetic molybdenum disulphide. To simplify, these chemical compounds make it possible to produce hydrogen which will then be stored in fuel cells. As titanium dioxide is white, it helps to reflect sunlight.

Paint suitable for all types of structures

This solar paint has several advantages. Inexpensive, it can be applied to any type of surface. Like the facades of a building, whether it is a house, a supermarket or an office. But also on roofs, vehicles. Its production cost being low, the product can be used even by the most modest households. However, at the moment the painting is only at the prototype stage. Its commercialization is not fully guaranteed and we are still unaware of its energy efficiency, essential data to demonstrate the interest of a technology in renewable energies.

Paints to save energy

While waiting to see if this solar technology will come to market, there are other energy-saving paints. This is particularly the case for so-called “anti-heat” white paints. By affixing them to the facades of buildings, this makes it possible to limit the heat which accumulates there and therefore to significantly reduce the electricity bill linked to the use of air conditioning. On the price side, this painting costs around 20 euros per square meter. Enercool, a Nantes start-up was inspired by NASA engineers to develop a reflective paint. This paint reflects sunlight, which lowers the temperature of the surfaces. This technology has been studied in India in the city of Ahmedabad. In 2017, nearly 3,000 roofs were painted with white lime and reflective paint. Scientists have seen houses cool rapidly, with a drop of 30°C on the roof and a drop of 3°C to 7°C inside the houses. Good news in this city where summer temperatures can easily exceed 50°C. Another paint was developed by an SME in Trégueux (Côtes-d’Armor). Named Tempolis, this paint allows the heat of the day to be stored and released in the evening. A technology that would save nearly 15% on annual electricity bills.


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