HOUSTON, Aug. 17, 2012 — A novel nanoparticle coating repels dust, pollen and other particles, and could keep solar panels clean and operating at their peak efficiency longer than conventional panels.
Solar panels need a clean surface to gather light efficiently from the sun, but they are often soiled by water and debris that can reduce their power capabilities by up to 30 percent, according to University of Houston physics professor Seamus Curran.
Curran developed a self-cleaning nano-thin hydrophobic coating layer that repels water and particles without interfering with the solar panel’s ability to absorb sunlight. The patent-pending coating can last for years, reducing maintenance and operation costs.
The technology was successfully tested at the Dublin Institute for Technology and will undergo field trials being run by Livingston & Haven, an engineering firm in North Carolina. Its developers say that it could have widespread application as an anticorrosive coating for other materials.
The Self-Cleaning Nano Hydrophobic (SCNH107TM) layer has been licensed by C-Voltaics, a startup energy company; the university is a shareholder.
For more information, visit: www.uh.edu