Color-changing windows harvest energy from wind, rain

Smart windows that can harvest electricity from wind or precipitation could be a future source of renewable energy, according to new research published recently in the journal ACS Nano.

According to Science, the windows were able to produce up to 130 milliwatts per square meter, which would be enough to power a smartphone in sleep mode, and Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, co-developer of the technology and a nanoscientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his colleagues believe that it could ultimately serve as a power source for some electronics.

The glass used in this new smart window technology uses nanoscale generators that are powered by static electricity produced by friction when two materials come into contact with one another. The generators are placed in two layers atop a lone pane of glass, and once activated, they create an electric current that tins the clear window a dark shade of blue, Science explained.

In their study, Dr. Wang and his colleagues explained that the self-powered system “is a promising concept for wireless networks due to its independent and sustainable operations without an external power source.” They added that their work is “a substantial advancement toward the practical application of nanogenerators and self-powered systems.”