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Electricity-generating windows in line for prize

Monash University researchers have been selected as finalists in Australia’s premier national science awards, the Eureka Prizes, for their research and innovation project which heralds substantial practical advances in renewable energy for a low-carbon future.

The project, a collaboration between Monash University and CSIRO to develop windows that can efficiently generate solar electricity, is a finalist for the Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.

Led by Department of Materials Science and Engineering Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure) Professor Jacek Jasieniak and Department of Civil Engineering Dr Jenny Zhou, and working with a group led by Dr Anthony Chesman at CSIRO, the Monash researchers have created semi-transparent solar cells made from materials called metal halide perovskites.

According to the researchers, the physical characteristics of perovskites mean they are very efficient at generating electricity while also being transparent. These can be printed as very thin films, making them ideal candidates for integrated applications in buildings, the researchers say.

Researchers have also shown how films made using metal halide perovskites can be “tuned” to achieve optimal balance between light transmission and power generation.

“Modelling shows solar windows could produce up to 100 per cent of the total electricity needs of a fully glazed skyscraper, thus substantially reducing a building’s net CO2 emissions,” the researchers say.

“Future development work in the project will focus on translating laboratory-based production methods to scalable production methods suitable for window sizes commonly used in construction.”

Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Senior Vice-President Professor Rebekah Brown has welcomed the announcement.

“It’s such a proud moment to see the work of talented Monash researchers recognised at one of Australia’s most prestigious science awards,” she says.

The Eureka Prizes honour excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science. The Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology is presented by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

The awards are presented annually by the Australian Museum, and winners of the Eureka Prizes for 2023 will be announced during a live broadcast event on Wednesday, August 23.

More information is available at the Australian Museum website.

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