Your vegetable scraps can glow and they could light up the world4 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Imagine a world where you are generating electricity wherever you go. Not only do your clothes create energy, but so do your windows, and so does your car. Carvey Maigue, the winner of this year’s James Dyson award for sustainability, has made this dream a possibility.
He has invented a technology that uses the invisible rays of the sun to create electricity. Sounds complicated? Let’s try to figure it out.
So, what is Carvey Maigue’s invention, and how does it work?
His invention, AuRes, is named after the beautiful green glow of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. He created these colorful sheets using the natural substance resin and a natural extract from fruits and vegetables.
AuRes is made from leftover scraps of food that would otherwise be wasted! Maigue reduces the food-waste to a pulp and then extracts the parts of the vegetable that glow under the Sun’s UV or ultraviolet rays. He then inserts the extract into a natural gooey substance called resin. When left outside, the resin hardens to a plastic-like consistency. Once it hardens into a sheet, the plant extract is protected within it.
Owliver’s Obscure Observation: When a living organism, such as a plant or animal, emits light or glows, it is known as bioluminescent. Take a look at this glowing beach that is packed with bioluminescent plankton.
What do these colorful panels do?
Well, quite simply, they glow under the light of the sun. When lit up, they reflect light onto the photovoltaic cells or solar cells that surround them. Solar cells are the components of solar panels that help convert the light of the sun into electricity.
How is AuRes different from a regular solar panel?
You could think of AuRes a sort of assistant to a solar panel. While there is no doubt that solar panels are mind-blowing inventions, there are several limitations when it comes to their use. Traditional Solar Panels only work when there visible light. So, if it’s a cloudy day or your solar panels are in the shadow of a building or tree-canopy, they won’t work.
AuRes panels, however, glow with the invisible UV rays of the sun that can penetrate clouds and reflect off buildings and pavements. Thus, when they light up, they reflect visible light, which can be converted into solar energy by the surrounding photovoltaic or solar cells. Maigue created the Aures panels from completely bio-degradable and sustainable materials. So, his invention is not just better for the environment than regular solar panels but also cheaper and more efficient.
Here’s why Maigue’s invention could totally change the game for solar panels:
- Since AuRes is made from not only biodegradable materials but also food that is already being thrown away or wasted, it is cheap! It improves our ability to use Solar Panels while costing almost nothing to both the environment and our pockets. And, it helps local farmers who can now sell their food waste as well.
- While Solar panels usually work only 20% of the time, with the help of AuRes, they can work from morning to night, regardless of the weather and the shadows cast by buildings and trees.
- Carvey Maigue claims that AuRes can be made into sheets of varied thickness. We could use the sheets as windows for large buildings such as this one, but also use them in our clothes!
Think With Owliver:
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Why is it so good for the environment?
Why is solar energy renewable?
Watch Carvey Maigue talk about his invention: