A recent discovery shows that solar panel built from waste crops can supply electricity.
A Filipino inventor has created resinous panels that harvest solar energy out of recycled vegetables, and it can work even when it’s cloudy, rainy, or out of direct sunlight.
This inventor realised that there are extremely sensitive chemicals in vegetables that turn UV light from the sun into visible light which can in turn be used to generate electricity from photovoltaic cells.
He made the experiment when placed between the glass of a double-glazed window, the different colored panels push sunlight into the edges of the window pane where PV cells then turn it into electricity—enough to charge two smartphones, but if used to clad an entire building, it can power major systems as well as delight onlookers with its Andy Warhol-like usage of bright colors.
Carvey Ehren Maigue created his innovation called AuREUS from upcycled vegetable waste, and he won the 2020 Dyson Foundation Sustainability Award. AuREUS, as its multi-colored nature looks like the Aurora Borealis.
AuREUS is a vegetable polymer sheet, and can be bent, molded, and clamped, onto pretty much any shape. Furthermore, they don’t need UV light to strike them directly, harvesting as plants do from the UV light through clouds. If placed on a roof entirely in shadow, they can still generate energy if the UV light was bouncing off.
Maigue is also looking to create curved plates, for use on electric cars, airplanes and even boats,” Maigue. “AuREUS has the chance to bring solar energy capture closer to people. In the same way computers were only used by the government or the military and now the same technology is in our smartphones, he wants solar energy harvesting to be more accessible.