The UN General Assembly designated 2015 as the International Year of Light. A global initiative to highlight the importance of light and lighting technologies to societal development.
It provides an opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect people on a global scale. It is anticipated that the International Year of Light will inspire people to think of new ideas, new solutions and new products for the future.
Which brings me rather neatly to a solar project that caught my eye recently.
Richard Lunt, an assistant professor from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University, US, and his team have developed the world’s first fully transparent solar cell.
Continue reading World’s first fully transparent solar cell (Day 328)
In theory, there’s enough light from the sun to provide all of the world’s energy needs. Clean, limitless and renewable it is a very attractive proposition.
Of course, it is not as simple as that. It doesn’t work at night and seasonality, atmospheric conditions and variable climate conditions (mostly clouds) mean it is less viable in some parts of the world.
There are other practical challenges too. Solar farms need to cover large surface areas to be commercially viable. This demand for space is also reflected for home-based solar power generation. Large solar panels are dotted on house roofs and buildings – not pretty and certainly not integrated into house design the way architects would prefer.
Continue reading Window power (Day 99)
What’s the furthest you’ve ever walked for clean water?
If you’re lucky, not very far.
If you’re unlucky, in some arid parts of the developing world, you could be spending hours walking several kilometres each day just to collect water to survive.
And forget about those romantic images of verdant oases. The water is often in polluted, dirty and in unsafe pools, especially for children.
However, putting the economics to one side for the moment, there are solutions. Cue the anaerobic digester and a new bit of technology attached to it called the McLanahan Nutrient Separation System.
Continue reading No ordinary oasis (Day 65)