When clouds roll in, energy production reduces. This has been the greatest challenge facing solar panels. It is impossible to control cloud cover, but new technology has come in to address that problem. Aurora Renewable Energy and UV Sequestration, in short, AuREUS works around this inconsistency.
AuREUS harvests ultraviolet light regardless of the weather; the technology could transform walls and windows into new energy sources. Let’s look at this energy source in detail.
The Invention of AuREUS
Carvey Ehren Maigue, a student at Mapua University in the Philippines, invented the AuREUS concept. As a result, British James Dyson Foundation gave him the first Sustainability Award.
The electrical engineer discovered he could harness electricity from ultraviolet rays using recycled crop waste. He created two devices, Astralis Solar Wall and Borealis Solar Window. These two use similar technology as found in the stunning northern and southern lights.
Particles that emit light or luminescent absorb high energy particles (gamma UV), re-emitting them as visible light (low energy state). The tech uses similar particles that you can find in fruit and vegetables and suspends them in a resin substrate.
When UV light hits the particles, they absorb and re-release visible light due to internal reflectance. Photovoltaic cells are placed on the edge to capture the released light. The panel then transforms the captured light into direct current (DC) electricity. The regulating circuits can process the output allowing direct use, charging of batteries, or storage.
Design Journey and Process
Creating this cutting-edge design came about from the desire to develop better solar technology by capturing UV light. Also, the resulting innovation needed to be sustainable and friendly to the environment.
The current PV modules can’t capture high energy UV rays. AuREUS began as an idea aiming to create materials with such abilities. Instead of converting electricity directly from high energy, the tech first breaks it down into visible light. After that, it captures the photons instead of using the normal PV cells.
This concept began in 2018. By 2019, an academic paper was written, showing the feasibility of the idea. In 2020, this technology-focused on using vegetables and fruit dyes as the primary compound.
What Makes AuREUS Special?
No direct sunlight requiremnt for this design to produce electricity. For this reason, AuREUS can still work well when they are not facing the sun, unlike other traditional panels. This technology allows vertical solar farms over a small area. Also, when there are clouds scattered in the sky, it can still produce electricity. It will rely on the UV light bouncing off walls, other buildings, and pavements.
Currently, commercial windows reflect UV light away from a building. As a result, people outside experience UV induced exposure. In contrast, windows made with AuREUS technology absorb this light, which protects people inside and outside.
Additionally, Maigue uses recycled waste crops from vegetables and fruits as a compound mixed with resin for collecting UV light. Before settling on the best compound, he had tried various options but found them promising.
It uses cheap and available materials. With the fruit and vegetable compound mixed in resin, Maigue lined them with solar film. With it, he created panels that are grass-like, which produce electricity. The substrate can be used in robust and translucent material. It also has the potential of being molded into a different shape. Using these waste materials helps the farmers.
The Future of AuREUS
Though the technology shows great promise, research is still ongoing. Correctly, Maigue is looking at getting the right luminescent particles that allow sourcing of dyes at 100% from fruits and vegetables and not chemicals. It is at 80% at the moment.
The commonly used colors are orange, yellow, red, green, and blue. However, Maigue is yet to make a stable blue dye.
The promise of affordable renewable energy for all continues to gain momentum from innovations that come up. After about 50 years since its invention, solar power is yet to be fully utilized. As newer technologies come up, more and more people adopt solar for clean energy.
AuREUS is one such stunning technology. It utilizes crops that would have otherwise been thrown away. As a result, farmers can mitigate their loss after the technology scaling. Using this innovation to harvest UV light also protects people from the adverse effects of climate change.
The use of windows and walls to harvest electricity also protects people from UV rays. Absorption of light from any angle will see the adaptation of this technology in solar plants. Additionally, such panels will occupy less space. Commercial buildings can also use this technique to harvest electricity to power operations. Clearly, with such innovations, the future looks bright for solar energy.
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