The Energy Collection, 2012


in collaboration with
Michael Graetzel lab
at Ecole Polytechnic Federale
Lausanne, Switzerland,
Solaronix Lausanne,
Switzerland, EPFL+ECAL Lab
and with Imperial College London

This solar glassware gathers energy from the light around it. Whether you are drinking
from your glass or have left it on the side, it is constantly working to gather energy.
The solar cells are completely integrated into the objects themselves, a unique
self-sufficient system. When you put the glass away, the specially designed cabinet itself
collects and stores this energy; it's a way to gather and harvest energy all within one
room. The cabinet works as a battery; this power can be adapted in many ways, from
charging your phone to powering a light source. Within each glass is a photovoltaic layer
of Dye Sensitised Solar Cell. This means that the properties of colour are being used
to create an electrical current. This technology was invented by Michael Graetzel at EPFL.
It is a technique based on the process of photosynthesis in plants.

Like the green chlorophyll which absorbs light energy, the colours in these cells collect
energy. The glassware uses sunlight as a sustainable source of energy, but can also work
under diffused light. This makes them much more efficient for use inside the home
compared to standard solar panels, which only work in direct sunlight and are not suitable
for indoor use. Different colours mean different properties. Each colour has a unique wave
length and collects different currents. For example, blueberries and raspberries have their
own voltages and levels of efficiency according to the colour spectrum.
Images taken by Wai Ming Ng