Goodbye to solar panels: from Australia comes solar paint

A University of Melbourne research has led to the discovery of a dye with silica gel that generates energy by exploiting moisture in the air

Despite the latest major advances, solar panel technology may soon be overtaken by a new scientific discovery. Especially in homes, offices and industrial warehouses. Blame it on "solar paint." A simple paint discovered in Australia and that has similar energy characteristics to the panels.

The solar paint, as mentioned, was developed by a team of Australian researchers. The key feature of this new discovery is the ability to create hydrogen fuel simply by harnessing the moisture in the air. To arrive at a paint with these specifications, the team of experts, linked to RMIT University in Melbourne, added a particular silica gel to the dye. This is the same material already used in many people's homes. You can find it in sachets to put in closets, shoe cabinets and even pantries. In this case, however, there is a small chemical modification to the compound.

The Solar Paint

The gel present in the solar paint is synthetic molybdenum sulfide. From the Australian university, they explain that this material acts as an energy semi-conductor and also promotes the splitting of water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen. Researcher Torben Daeneke explains that in order to attract sunlight, and thus also exploit this type of energy, in addition to moisture, titanium oxide was also added to the dye. This is the same compound that is currently also used in white exterior paints. This means that the new solar paint can be conveniently used in place of current house and office paints. "The key aspect of this discovery," Daeneke explains, "is that the paint doesn't need clean water or nearby reservoirs to work. Any area in the world with high humidity can do just fine." The researcher concluded his presentation of the discovery by saying that it will take about five years for this new solar paint to come to market.