Solar paint – which captures and guides light to strips of solar panels in roof gutters – is fast becoming a reality thanks to Dodd-Walls Centre’s Associate Investigator Dr Nathaniel Davies.
Estimated to be up to 160 times less the cost of current solar panels, Dr Davis’ technology has the potential turn every roof in New Zealand into a solar panel, massively reducing power bills and dependencies on the main grid for supply.
“You paint directly on top of the roof and then you put solar panels in your guttering. The paint will guide the light into the edge of your guttering system, then it’d be a single coat of paint and a little insulation of solar panels along the edge” says Dr Davis.
Dr Paul Geraghty, Commercialisation Manager from Wellington UniVentures (the technology transfer arm of Victoria University), works with Dr Davis and is excited about the potential of this project. “This is really interesting technology which could lead to the wider adoption of solar power, and a range of new applications as well.”
Dr Davis’ research has received significant support from academia, government, and industry. This includes support from Dodd-Walls Centre and The MacDiarmid Institute (both Centres of Research Excellence), the Marsden Fund, National Science Challenge Science for Technological Innovation, Return on Science Investment Committees, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE), notably through Endeavour Funding Round in 2019.
Dr Davis was just one of several successes from Dodd-Walls Centre researchers in last year’s MBIE Endeavour funding round. Other investigators funded were:
- Sara Miller: Diagnosis by light: An endoscopic probe for biopsy-free diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease.
- Amita Deb: Contact-free sensing of high voltages using a laser electrometer.
- Cather Simpson: Drinking-water pathogen monitoring in real-time.
“The Dodd-Walls Centre is delighted to promote and support early career researchers like Dr Davis”, says David Hutchinson, Director of the Dodd-Walls Centre, “especially when their ideas have such huge potential for commercial impact in NZ, and the global importance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through carbon-free energy.”
The Dodd-Walls Centre investigators are preparing for the 2021 round of MBIE Endeavour Funding now and welcome and support industry engagement to co-create ideas and value.