The future of renewable energy capture, conversion and storage with innovative carbon reducing smart sensing systems

Solar power is the future of clean growth. However current technology is limited, unreliable and can be costly. To generate the volume of power the UK needs to service its energy needs the raw materials behind solar capture must change. I have undertaken substantial research into nano materials and smart systems developing a state of the art solar energy capture, conversion and storage solution which provides 48% greater efficiency than current solar PV (photovoltaic) and thermal systems. This advanced technological system is lighter, smaller, has a greater storage capacity and a significantly enhanced energy capture. Using blends of conventional, novel and exotic nano materials combined into unique thermofluids for heating, generating electricity and thermal storage provides a cost effective and efficient solution to the UK’s need for green energy.

Imagine the useful entire exterior of a house becomes a solar collector with the new nano enhanced materials warehoused within the building’s surfacing. Almost the whole house becomes the equivalent of a gigantic solar panel and battery as every inch is able to store and utilise the available sunlight – the quantity of energy captured would exceed that needed for the household use.

Second, imagine combining all this energy with an engineered intelligent sensing system to improve the energy use in the home or business without the householder having to change their behaviour. I have developed advanced sensing techniques which draw real time environmental data on temperature, pressure and humidity ratios to provide control action to reactions measures. So the smart system knows when you are or aren’t in a room and adjusts the auto-sensors for lights and heating to optimise energy use. Smart sensing and control system is precise, virtually maintenance free and economical. This system is not based on pre-programming such as scheduling or setting temperature limits or linking to optical sensors where a single person movement is not distinguished from multiple persons. Thus, a slight change in environmental temperature will reduce energy output, controlled peak and off peak hours will trigger energy storage with the excess diverted to the National Grid reducing costs for the householder or business owner and generating clean green power. 

The integrated system of low carbon energy and smart sensing for both domestic and industrial applications will revolutionise the UK’s energy use in terms of cost effectiveness and significantly reduced carbon emissions meeting the Government’s Industrial Strategy aims.

Why the contribution is important

This approach is the future.

Solar energy is the cleanest, greenest, most environmentally friendly renewable method that is capable of generating sufficient volume to service the UK’s energy needs. The invisible nano materials take energy capture, conversion and storage to a new level maximising the sun’s power and providing a low carbon solution.

Integrating this with smart sensing technology for both domestic and industrial applications beyond the complexity of what is currently available will revolutionise our energy use - reducing costs, reducing reliance on the National Grid and costly fossil fuels, and redistributing the surplus energy nationally.

 We’ll see a reduction in our dependency on non-renewable sources of energy, reduced carbon emissions, reduced energy waste, and reduced costs and sustainability - moving us towards a greener future and for the UK to be a global leader in green and low carbon technological innovations.

Furthermore, solar makes sense within the current political climate. It promotes reliance on British technology and reduces the energy security risk associated with a post Brexit world. The long term impacts of Brexit are not certain, estimates show that the trading costs could rise by as much as £500 million per annum to the whole industry.  Overdependence on fossil fuels paints a stark future:

  • In 2016 36% of UK energy had to be imported
  • Only 17% of the UK energy was from low carbon sources and solar energy was just 0.5%
  • In 2017 oil and gas provided 76% of the UK’s primary energy, and will continue to provide two thirds of the UK’s primary energy until 2035.

World non-renewable resources are finite and running out fast. Oil reserves are estimated to last for only 50.7 years, natural gas for 52.8 years and coal to last 114 years. Oil markets remain volatile, storage shortages and uncertainty over liquefied natural gas has led to increased prices.  This greatly enhanced solar technology would significantly reduce the level of energy imported, protect the UK from future energy crises and improve our country for future generations.  

Solar energy is abundant and inexhaustible. Utilising only 0.02% of annual solar energy would meet the UK’s energy demand.

We all need to play our part in meeting the aims of the Government’s Industrial strategy, these advanced nano enhanced and technological smart system solutions are my contributions.

by zkhan on June 29, 2018 at 03:31PM

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Average rating: 4.9
Based on: 20 votes


  • Posted by zkhan June 30, 2018 at 17:11

    This article is added by:
    Zulfiqar Khan

    Professor of Design, Engineering and Computing

    Specialist within the field of nano coating, condition monitoring, nano application technology, anti-aging/corrosion and interacting systems, low carbon energy technology

    Read more about my work here (

    Acknowledgements: Quantitative data in this article is informed by; BP statistical review of world energy 2018, Low carbon economy index, Independent statistics & analysis US energy information administration, Carbon brief clear on climate - data dashboard energy (archive), Our world in data, Energy sage - smarter energy decisions, Bloomberg new energy outlook (NEO), UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report, Department for business, energy and & industrial strategy - UK energy in brief 2017 and Bournemouth University Nanocorr, Energy & Modelling (NCEM) Research Group UK.

  • Posted by ParisaPashaie July 01, 2018 at 17:31

    Green energy has lots of advantages such as it is unlimited, free and also no polution thats why in the future this kind of energy will be improved and combination of solar cell and smart technology will be the best option!
  • Posted by adilsaeed July 01, 2018 at 21:48

    This idea would pave the way to overcome UK energy consumption in a sustainable way in the future. Not only this provides a solution for clean energy but also this will reduce the UK dependability on conventional energy sources which are mainly imported.
  • Posted by Laurakzai July 02, 2018 at 12:08

    Solar energy capture is an important area for the UK to invest. The conventional sources of energy such as oil, gas and coal are depleting fast, and moreover the cost to the environment damage is also very high.
    For the UK economy to be sustainable, it is vital that ideas such as the one above must be supported.
  • Posted by ALazar July 04, 2018 at 14:08

    This research enables us to have a completely self-sufficient and renewable source of energy that together with Professor Khan's revolutionary storage solution solves our future energy needs.
  • Posted by hnazir July 09, 2018 at 17:44

    Conventional solar collector system such as evacuated tube harnesses the energy from the sun to heat water or use the generated heat to power steam turbines. However this system offers many major problems for example it is more expensive to have supplied and installed.

    Professor Zulfiqar Khans research solves these problems and provides the means of using readily available and sustainable materials to be applied in state of the art thermal systems through a combination of thermofluids with nano additives and efficient thermal storage, which will definitely help meet our future energy needs.

    This is excellent initiative in the green energy area and is one of its kind.
  • Posted by MarkBEISgovuk July 17, 2018 at 16:33

    Hi, thanks very much for your idea and for explaining your research. It's great to hear about the innovation going on in the clean growth space.

    Following the announced Clean Growth mission, for this challenge we were interested specifically in hearing from industry and the public on how our construction industry could use its strengths to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030. I have passed your idea on to colleagues working on solar energy and smart systems in the department. If you were looking for a direct response from officials working in this area, you may want to contact the department via:
  • Posted by zkhan July 18, 2018 at 09:14

    Dear Mark,
    Thank you for your comments and for providing email contact. I will email your colleagues in solar energy & smart system department.
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