Spray-on solar

New Energy Technologies has developed a way to spray transparent solar cells onto glass. The patent is pending, but the company hopes to use it with its solar-powered glass window, SolarWindow, which is also under development.

The technology uses nanomaterials, measure between one and 100 nanometers and are used in everything from sunscreen and makeup to sports equipment, notes the Environmental Protection Agency. Nanotechnology holds great potential for both good and harm, allowing for developments that could help everything from climate change to cancer treatments. The extremely small size of nanomaterials means they can more easily enter the environment and into humans and animals at a cellular level, entering internal organs. Yet the use of nanomaterials far outpaces research about their potentially negative consequences. The EPA announced in September a research strategy to study the health and environmental effects of a range of nanomaterials.