West Australian smart solar glass developer ClearVue continues to explore new applications for its building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology, offering up its solar glass windows to Murdoch University for a research project into near-zero energy transportable mining accommodation.
March 12, 2021
The ASX-listed ClearVue has set its sights on the mining sector, supplying Murdoch University with two of its solar glass windows which have been installed in a prototype four-person mine-site accommodation hut, or donga, at the university’s Perth campus.
The donga will utilise ClearVue’s integrated glass units (IGU) which feature solar PV cells around the edges of each unit. The units incorporate a nanoparticle interlayer and spectral-selective coating on the rear external surface which allow much of the light to pass through but redirects infrared and UV light to the edge of the IGU where it is harvested by solar cells.
The company said the technology delivers a minimum of 30 watts per sqm while maintaining 70% transparency.
ClearVue said its solar windows are one of a range of sustainable, low-carbon building products and technologies being used in the mining accommodation project.
With major mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto setting targets of net zero carbon emissions across the whole of their operations by 2050, the research initiative will examine not only how to increase the energy efficiency of the dongas, but also improve the thermal comfort for their occupants, particularly fly-in, fly-out mining workers.
ClearVue’s energy generating windows will, in addition to providing improved insulative performance, supply power to USB mobile phone chargers, LED lighting and sensors.
Data collected during the trial will be used to assess energy consumption and thermal comfort levels, which will then be used to develop a virtual building model able to simulate a mine-site.
The project is a continuation of ClearVue’s collaboration with the university which includes the installation of its IGUs in a commercial-scale demonstration greenhouse at the university campus.
Glazing of the greenhouse was completed earlier this month ahead of testing and commissioning of the greenhouse.
The ClearVue greenhouse, described as the world’s first clear solar glass greenhouse, is one of several greenhouses constructed at the university as part of a $7.45m agricultural research precinct.
The joint research collaboration will see the energy efficiency and generation performance of ClearVue’s glazing technology monitored.
The Perth-based company and Murdoch University will also conduct trials in the greenhouse to measure how well plants grow in the ClearVue-glazed sections of the structure.
To coincide with growing seasons, a winter crop cycle trial is expected to commence at the end of this month or early next month. The initial results from the greenhouse trials are expected around mid-year.
ClearVue said the plant science trial results will help facilitate the commercial application of its solar glazing technology across protected-cropping agriculture markets, a key target for the company’s marketing efforts alongside high-rise commercial buildings.
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