The Lumiduct from Wellsun makes transparent and energy producing buildings become reality. The Lumiduct enables full glass facades to generate more energy than dark walls completely covered with traditional solar panels. The Lumiduct is a selective, transparent sun shading. It selectively shields the intense, direct light which is responsible for the glare and heating of the building, and turns this into electricity. At the same time the Lumiduct is transparent for the soft, diffuse light which is experienced as pleasant daylight. Thereforethe Lumiduct is the ideal sun shading, resulting in 2 to 3 times as much daylight inside the building compared to ordinary sun shading. With the large area available for high efficient electricity production, the Lumiduct combines the generation of huge amounts of energy with the creation of an ideal indoor climate. On top of the improved building climate and energy performance, the Lumiduct also addresses the heating up of the city by glass buildings. By absorbing the energy of the sun in the glass facade, the sunlight is not reflected back into the street and this way the city stays cool.
The solar panels of the Lumiduct are more environmentally friendly than normal silicon PV modules. The energy needed to make them is less than the energy needed to make silicon PV, and because they are made in Ontario they are made with low carbon electricity with no coal power. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production are therefore less than 1/10 what silicon PV causes. The lifetime of the Lumiduct modules should also be much longer than the 30 years that silicon PV lasts for. The optics are recyclable and can be replaced after 30 or 40 years to refurbish a module (keeping the same glass and other materials, which last much longer) enabling a lifetime on the order of 100 years.
Silicon PV that has reached the end of its lifetime are difficult to recycle. 99% of a silicon PV modules is glass, EVA, teflon or PET films, and silicon cells. Silicon PV and glass are recyclable, but EVA and teflon/PET are non-recyclable plastics that can break down and lead to pollution and micro plastics in the oceans that can get into the food chain and cause problems for animals and people. The EVA also binds very strongly to the silicon PV cells making it hard to separate the materials so that the silicon can be recycled. However, the PV modules use in the Lumiduct consists for 99% of PMMA (a thermoplastic), glass, and silicone. PMMA is what the optics are made from and it is easy to recycle with a large marketplace for doing so. Taking the lenses off the module requires nothing more than scraping with a sharp blade. The silicone is not currently recyclable but it is edible, nontoxic, and has no risk of breaking down into micro plastic because it is not a plastic at all. The glass is recyclable. This makes the sustainability of the Lumiduct best in class.