Solar energy is a hot-button issue throughout the world in the race to reduce energy consumption and promote more sustainable, environmentally friendly power production.
One young engineering student in the Philippines, Carvey Ehren Maigue, has made a significant breakthrough in the search for clean, green energy – a solar panel that doesn’t require direct sunlight.
Using luminescent particles extracted from fruits and vegetables, the panels are able to absorb UV rays, regardless of the level of direct sunlight, and turn the UV into electricity.
Offering huge potential for upscaling, the innovative technology could prove to be extremely beneficial anywhere that conventional solar panels can’t be installed or direct sunlight may not be accessible, for example, in urban areas.
How does the revolutionary material work?
Harvested from crop waste, luminescent particles are embedded within a highly malleable resin surface or panel. From here, the process of creating solar energy occurs in two stages:
- Ultraviolet light is converted into visible light
Certain types of crops contain luminescent particles that absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays and enable the conversion of UV into visible light.
- Visible light is converted into electricity
The panels reflect the converted light to the edges where a number of solar, or photovoltaic, cells are placed to capture and convert the visible light into electricity.
As the end-product is quite pliable it has many potential applications including wall cladding or for placement between double glazed windows. Future iterations of the material may also include a curved panel for energy generation on electric cars, planes, or boats.
What are the future plans for the new solar tech?
With efficiency and clean energy production of utmost importance in today’s climate, the AuREUS technology, so-called and inspired by the naturally occurring auroras, has the potential to produce limitless energy.
With a prototype panel measuring just three-by-two feet, inventor Maigue was able to generate enough power to charge two phones every day. The ultimate goal for AuREUS would be to clad entire buildings and effectively create vertical solar farms.
Due to the innovative UV-absorbing capabilities, city skyscrapers and tall buildings without access to direct sunlight could still generate energy when utilising AuREUS.
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