Principal's Prize

Principal's Prize for Public Engagement: PhD student category winner Dorothy Hardy

Congratulations to SISER PhD student Dorothy Hardy who was awarded the "Principal's Prize for Public Engagement" in the PhD student category at Heriot-Watt University


Dorothy has taken on a broad range of public engagement activities during her PhD studies. These include organising and contributing to the LightBright Electric Exhibition (see past events below for details) and taking to the stage to perform stand-up comedy about her research as part of Bright Club Edinburgh
We asked Dorothy to tell us more about her research and the benefits of her public engagement. 
"I investigate ways of making solar cells look good as part of architecture. I use fluorescent dyes to change the colours of solar cells and their surroundings. This technology has minimal effect on the electricity output from the cells, unlike many other methods of altering the appearance of solar cells."


Dorothy 1 Dorothy working with fluorescent dyes
 Dorothy 2 Testing the electricity output from a model made at the 'LightBrightElectric' workshop, February 2013  "Public engagement is a vital part of this research. I want to know what would most help building designers: what research I should do so that solar cells will look great as part of buildings; so that this technology can make a big contribution to generation of renewable energy. Showing the variety of solar cells that are available helps with this, but the most exciting work is in getting people working hands-on with materials. 
Making models with fluorescent plastics and thin solar ‘strip’ cells gives a lot of room for experiment, and a result that shows how this technology (known as luminescent solar concentrators) can generate electricity." 
"Winning this category of the principal’s prize for public engagement will enable me to make an installation that features solar cells and fluorescent dyes; to draw people in and show them that solar cells can look exciting, as well as generating electricity. I will develop the designs that I have been working on at Peters glass studio, in Paderborn, Germany: the world leaders in artistic use of solar cells in architectural glass."
Dorothy 3
 Prototype artistic solar cell design, made at Peters glass studios
Dorothy's prize-winning presentation can be viewed by clicking on the image on the left. 

SISER Workshop on Thin Film PV

The next SISER workshop/seminar will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the 20th March at the Thin Film Research Centre at the University of the West of Scotland.

The topic for the session will be Thin Film PV. As you know Thin Film PV cells, being flexible, have the potential to be applied in a wide variety of ways from building tiles and bodies of electric cars to textiles and clothing. SISER research is developing ways to integrate Thin Film PV on textiles, develop cheaper/quicker manufacturing processes and develop new, more efficient, light harvesting materials.

Speakers include:

Prof. Frank Placido – UWS and Director of the Thin Film Centre

Prof. Mervyn Rose – University of Dundee

Prof. Hari Upadhyaya – Heriot-Watt University

Prof. John Wilson – Heriot-Watt University and Power Textiles

SISER are also very pleased to welcome Dr. Adel Gougam to the meeting who will be speaking about Thin Film research being carried out at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi.

There will also be a tour of the Thin-Film Centre from 4.15 to 4.45 p.m. for those interested. Please let me know if you are interested in joining the tour.

If you would like to attend please register using the link below. Please note that registration is free but compulsory.

LightBright Electric

Solar Electricity for Art and Architecture

The Light Bright Electric Exhibition - Solar Electricity for Art and Architecture - was held at Edinburgh University’s Inspace Gallery in George Square from the 15th – 16th February 2013.

The precept for the exhibition was that electricity can be generated from light using a variety of materials and methods and that we shouldn’t be restricted by the idea that blue roof mounted silicon solar panels are the only option available. The exhibition explored how art, architecture and science can be fused to create colourful and interesting electricity generating devices.





    A series of colourful photovoltaic panels made with engraved, perforated and laser-cut, fluorescent acrylic by Sigrid Blekastad an Architectural Glass Designer. These panels demonstrate how luminescent solar concentrator technology can be applied to create colourful solar windows.




LSC2Sigrid’s Master of Fine Art degree explored applications of Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs) material. In these materials a portion of the light is captured by the fluorescent material and guided through the sheet to the edges so that they glow. Electricity can be generated from these materials by fixing thin strips of solar cells to the glowing edges of the sheets.



Zipped, Laced and Studded

A series of sculptures exploring ways in which silicon solar cells can be incorporated into structures by Dorothy Hardy, a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University.

Dorothy has trained both as a mechanical engineer and a glass artist. She is currently undertaking a  PhD at Heriot-Watt University exploring ways of making photovoltaics look good as part of architecture.


© Yaz Norris Photography


Energy CollectionThe Energy Collection, 2012 by Marjan Van Aubel.

Glassware incorporating Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC) is placed on a cabinet that collects the electricity generated by the solar cells. Samples of the dye sensitized solar cells were displayed near the projection.

This technology is based on the process of photosynthesis in plants: the colours in these cells collect energy in a similar way to the green chlorophyll that absorbs light energy in plants. A porous titanium dioxide layer is soaked with photosensitive dye: a natural pigment extracted from the juice of blueberries or spinach. The dye that gives the red or blue colour to berries, gives off an electron when light strikes it. One side of the glass is positive; the other negative; and when the cell is exposed to light, the dye transmits its electrons to the titanium dioxide and releases an electric current.


JessicaJessica Lammey’s concept designs for Tate Modern, Liverpool. Incorporating solar cells on a large scale.





GlassPeters Glass Studio, Paderborn, Germany: Incorporation of solar cells into architectural glass commissions.

Work by:

Raphael Seitz, Germany Joost Caen, Belgium
Sabine Rentzsch, Germany Sarah Hall, Canada
Sabine Rentzsch, Germany Carol Bennet, Hawaii
Thomas Kuzio, Germany Ina Rosenthal, Germany
Doris Conrads, Germany Christine Dahrendorf, Germany
Jochem Poensgen





During day 1 of the exhibition a workshop was held where participants (professionals and students of art, architecture and science) were given the exciting task of building Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs) artwork and building models that would generate electricity. These constructions were made using transparent luminescent acrylic sheets which emit concentrated light at their edges. This light can then be harvested to make electricity by applying solar cells to the edges of the luminescent sheet. These colourful devices were displayed during the opening and during the rest of the exhibition.












© Yaz Norris Photography

The opening drinks reception was sponsored by NBS Scotland.


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