7 Solar Projects that Can Change the World
People often take energy for granted and forget about the environment. A lack of power influences everything: from life and health to business and education. Over 1.5 billion people still have no access to electricity all over the world. 1 more billion has an intermittent access.
When using the solar power, the major natural resource, such issues can be ameliorated or even solved. Social entrepreneurs, scientists or even huge tech companies try their best to do this. The list above from the specialists in top solar power providers describes the most innovative and coolest solar projects of today. Whether that are large stills that transform steam into a drinking water, or a small lantern that has a solar panel at the top, the power of the sun will amaze you.
Eliodomestico Solar Still
Gabriele Diamanti designed his solar household still for countries that are developing and have a limited access or no access to a fresh water for drinking. It works like a coffee maker turned upside-down. The seawater is poured through the hole at the top. After this, it is heated by the sun all the day long. Thanks to the pressure, the stream is forced to a watertight boiler. Later, this steam condenses against the lid.
This household still produces 5 liters of water per day. Thanks to the sun, there are no costs for operation. This still is made completely of cheap materials that are available everywhere.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork designed LuminAID, a solar-inflatable light, after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. It helps people affected by crises, disasters, and conflicts.
LuminAID consists of a flexible thin-film solar battery, a pair of flat coin-sized batteries and several bright LEDs. All of them are hermetically sealed in a translucent polymer bag – it plays the role of a diffuser as well. The full charge of the LuminAID in a bright sun takes 4-6 hours, after which it is ready to give 35 lumens for 4 hours or 20 lumens for 6 hours. The batteries are designed for 800 charging cycles.
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Topaz Solar Farm
This farm was built in one of the sunniest states, California. Nine million solar plates with a total area of 25 square kilometers give 550 megawatts of electricity, capable of providing the needs of 160,000 homes and industrial enterprises. Using solar energy instead of hydrocarbon fuel will reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by almost 400,000 tons per year.
American companies Airlight Energy and IBM research announced the planned construction of “Sunflowers” – solar panels in the form of the sunflower. Due to the innovative shape and improved technical characteristics, the invention will allow to concentrate solar energy 2000 times and convert it into 12 kilowatts of electricity and 20 kilowatts of heat.
Panasonic Solar LED Lantern
A new LED light with a 3.5-watt solar panel and a USB port is an environmentally friendly and safe light source that can be used in homes, hospitals, schools, shops, and on the streets. It is fully charged in about 6 hours and provides up to 6 hours of lighting at maximum brightness. BG-BL03 was the first product of Panasonic, created specifically for the low-income population of developing countries.
Eden Full was only 21 years old when she designed a device that rotates solar panels toward the sun all the day long that needs no motor. She notices that when panels face the sun all the time, it increases the energy output by 40%.
This innovation is an inexpensive, water clock-esque design. Even people with remote or rural locations can build SunSaluter around solar panels.
It became possible to get solar energy even at night, but “Artificial leaf” is an innovation of biochemist Daniel Nocera. This is a silicon wafer imitating real leaves and making energy from water and sunlight. When putting the wafer in water, it splits the oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen is collected in a fuel cell.
The early prototypes were problematic. However, in April 2013, Nocer updated it and made “self-healing” version that stopped attachment of bacteria to this surface. If you place one such leaf in a quart of water, it will provide over 100 watts of energy 24 h/day.