Just imagine the walls of your home could generate clean energy…
Written by Jordaine Chattaway
Imagine you’re searching for that perfect paint to give your home a fresh look and feel. You’re standing in front of a display staring at endless shades of navy. Now, imagine you spot a colour called “clean energy”.
The choice is simple, right?
Melbourne’s RMIT University has created a Solar Paint which can absorb water vapour and split it to generate hydrogen.
Lead researcher Dr Torben Daeneke said the paint uses solar energy and moisture from the air to create hydrogen.
“We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air,” he said.
“Titanium oxide is the white pigment that is already commonly used in wall paint, meaning that the simple addition of the new material can convert a brick wall into energy harvesting and fuel production real estate.
“Our new development has a big range of advantages.”
With no need for clean or filtered water to feed the system, any place that has water vapour in the air, even remote areas far from water, can produce fuel.
After this blog initially went live, we had the opportunity to interview Dr. Torben Daeneke and Prof. Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, the inventors of solar paint.
Watch our interview below.
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Innovation at Origin
We’re committed to helping secure a cleaner energy supply because we want a cleaner, better future for all Australians and the planet. Here’s a few examples of how we’re focussing on energy innovation and leading the way to a clean energy future.
Correct as of 17 August 2017
1. We’re trialling next gen home energy solutions
In collaboration with California-based tech start-up Bidgely, Origin will shortly begin trialing the new solution with 5,000 customers in Victoria, providing them with a rare insight into where energy is being used in their household and helping them to manage their energy costs.
2. We’ve launched O Hub
Our Bidgely trial (see above) is one of the first projects being run out of O hub – a new office in Melbourne where Origin people are co-located with Australian tech start-ups, which is dedicated to rapidly prototyping, developing and trialing new customer solutions.
3. We co-founded Free Electrons
Origin is a proud co-founder of Free Electrons – a global accelerator bringing together eight forward-thinking utilities and 12 leading start-ups in renewables, smart grids, electric vehicles and home energy management.
4. We’ve established a presence in Silicon Valley
Origin is establishing a presence in Palo Alto, California – helping facilitate our access to the vibrant Silicon Valley start-up community.
5. We’re supporting clean energy innovation
Principal sponsor of EnergyLab – the new home for clean energy innovation and Australian Energy technology start ups, which is located at the University of Technology, Sydney.
6. We mean business when it comes to climate change
We have committed to closing our single coal-fired power station, Eraring in NSW, at the end of its life in the 2030s and are accelerating our investment in renewables. Origin was the world’s first energy company to sign up to seven initiatives of the We Mean Business coalition, a worldwide group of NGOs, signatory companies and institutional investors committed to limiting climate change impacts to 2oC. Read more about it here.
7. We’re already making big leaps in renewable energy
Origin is one of Australia’s largest supporters of renewable energy, with a portfolio of more than 700MW of owned or contracted renewable energy. We have invested in wind generation for more than a decade and by 2020, we intend to add up to 1500 MW of new, large-scale renewable energy to our portfolio. In the past year, we have signed a series of long-term agreements to buy the power produced by solar farms across Australia including:
- the 220 MW Bungala solar project near Port Augusta;
- the 150MW Daydream solar farm in north Queensland;
- the 56 MW Moree solar farm in NSW;
- the 100 MW Clare solar farm in Queensland;
- the 10.8 MW Lakeland solar project in Queensland, which also incorporates 5.3 MWh of battery storage.
8. We are one of the largest providers of green energy in Australia
We have more than 150,000 green energy customer accounts, making us one of the largest Australian providers of GreenPower and Green Gas products. Green power is energy sourced from government accredited renewable power sources.
9. We’re solar experts
We have 410,000+ Origin electricity customers with rooftop solar installed who receive feed-in tariffs for the extra solar energy they produce. Origin is also Australia’s second largest installer of residential solar systems, having directly sold and installed around 85,000 residential solar systems.
10. We believe a balanced supply is important
Gas will be the key to managing the transition to lower carbon and providing reliability and affordability as renewable energy grows. Origin’s generation portfolio consists of mainly gas-fired power stations, which are lower emissions and can be started more quickly than coal to step in and provide electricity when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. We’ll keep doing what we can to decarbonise our energy supply and economy, while making sure our responsibilities as the largest energy provider in Australia are met at all times.
More about the author
Jordaine leads Origin’s Social Media Content by day and runs her own fashion news outlet, The Modern Black, by night. The former newspaper and television journalist loves to play with words and has a passion for finding new ways to change the world for the better … one little step at a time.