While renewable energy uptake and solutions continue to grow, many can only generate electricity in the right environmental conditions. For example, solar panels can only capture and convert visible light into renewable energy and must be facing the sun to do so.
What is more, solar farms are only built horizontally, never vertically and are often placed on prime arable farmland.
The solution? Invented by 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue from Mapua University in the Philippines, AuREUS System Technology is a material that can be attached to a pre-existing structure or surface. Utilizing the natural scientific principles behind the northern and southern lights, it harvests UV light and convert this into visible light to generate electricity.
Using ultraviolet rays, the sun could be shining, or it could be cloudy: Carvey’s material will still generate electricity.
The particles in his material absorb UV light causing them to glow. As the particles “rest” they remove excess energy. This excess energy bleeds out of the material as visible light, which can then be transformed into electricity. Current prototypes successfully achieve this on windows and external building structures.
Not only has Carvey invented an efficient process to generate renewable energy, but the materials he uses to do so create a closed-loop design process, so nothing is wasted. This is because Carvey uses a substrate extracted from waste crops—such as rotting fruits and vegetables—to create a durable, translucent and moldable material as the basis for AuREUS.
James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson in a statement, revealed that:
As a farmer, I see great potential in Carvey’s technology to generate clean renewable energy. AuREUS… conserves space using pre-existing structures, utilizes current resources and waste streams, and supports local agricultural communities. His bright idea to use upcycled crop waste develops a closed loop system. This element of his invention is particularly clever and shows the close link between farming and technology.James Dyson
The student plans to use his $40,000 prize money to further develop his invention.