French company Wysips has created what it claims is the world’s first transparent photovoltaic film.
The concept was developed from research on lenticular images, which show different pictures depending on the observer’s position and are often used to give an illusion of depth. In a similar way Wysips technology builds solar panels into a surface without changing its appearance. Using the technology any image, or any visible surface, can become a photovoltaic source.
The film is flexible and can be made in any size, so the technology can provide a high-definition solution applicable to all types of screens. Like touch screen technology, it’s designed to become an integral part of the screen.
It can be integrated into screens, glass, fabrics, sails, plastics, and makes them all into photovoltaic energy sources. It can potentially put an electrical power sources into places and objects not previously thought possible, such as mobile phone and computer screen, clothes, books, cars, houses, etc.
In fact phones and laptops without chargers are a potential focus; “No more charges and wall sockets, your phone charges automatically on a café terrace, walking down the road, or wherever and whenever you take it”.
Well it sounds too good to be true. It raises two questions for me. Firstly, does it actually work? All I can say is that it won first place in CTIA's 2011 Emerging Technology Awards for Green Telecom and smart Energy Solutions, which is certainly an endorsement.
Secondly, could a mobile phone really rely on this power source alone, i.e. do away with chargers? I suspect not, unless you live in the right place with the right climate. But does that matter? It can at least top up existing charge and save a great deal of energy. According to the company; "Two billion mobile phones featuring Wysips technology... that’s one gigawatt of power produced, or the equivalent of a nuclear power plant." That’s a lot of power saved by less than half the mobile phone subscribers in the world.