Amazing innovations in solar technology

2015-11-24 08:40

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Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore. Scientist and innovators are continually discovering new ways to harness the sun’s energy in exciting and practical ways that will change our world. With enormous strides being made in the industry, we’ve highlighted a few of the latest, coolest and dare we say, brightest, solar powered products! They’re simply genius.

Plug in to solar
A revolutionary suite of batteries was recently unveiled by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who believes they could “fundamentally change the way the world uses energy” and get us off fossil fuels. Launched at a relatively cheap price the “powerwall” is designed as a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. Automated, compact and apparently simple to install, the battery promises to increase the capacity for a household’s solar consumption, while also offering backup functionality during grid outages and loadshedding.

Sun solution to drought!
Scientists are looking at solving water problems with a little help from an unlikely source - the sun. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jain Irrigation Systems have recently developed a method that is able to pull the salt out of water and turn brackish water into drinking water using a solar-powered machine. The machine then also disinfects the water using ultraviolet rays. With South Africa, Africa and the world facing severe drought this technology can’t come soon enough.

Ride for rays

In the Netherlands the world’s first “solar road,” has defied expectations and generated about 3,000 kWh of power in just half a year. That is enough to provide a single-person household with electricity for a year. Considering the prototype is only a 70 meter bike path, the potential for solar roads could be huge!

Bending with solar
Rooftop solar panels are great – but what if solar energy could be part of a building’s architecture instead of an addition? A new solar concentrator has been developed which can be placed over windows to create solar energy - without any obstruction to your view. Completely transparent, it can be a placed on any clear surface, from the glass facade of a building to a computer screen. While the technology is still in early stages the possibilities of this technology could be endless.

Colours of the sun
On the flip side if you’d rather make a display of your solar panels than hide in transparency, meet Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel’s New Creation windows. These clever and colourful solar cells look like stained-glass art but still generate solar energy. Brilliantly beautiful!

Pocket full of sunshine
The solar plug is an innovation for daily life! The idea couldn’t be simpler; the outlet has one side with solar panels to absorb radiation and store electricity and a suction cup to be able to stick it to any glass, at home or a car window for example. On the other side, it is a standard outlet. Once charged, you can carry it in your pocket in order to connect it at any time – a true portable plug.

Floating on sunshine
BASF and Floatility have partnered together and developed an ultra-lightweight and solar-powered electric scooter. Weighing less than 12 kilograms and consisting of more than 80% composite and plastic materials from BASF, the scooter will give commuters the sensation of floating and has therefore been aptly named the ‘e-floater’.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2015, BASF is rolling out a global co-creation program with partners on the topics of energy, food and urban living. BASF believes chemistry will play an important role in the future of solar technology, enabling the sun's energy to make a sustainable contribution towards a low carbon society.

The sun produces enough energy in a single second to meet the world's electric needs for thousands of years.

If you think you have the next solar idea become part of the BASF creator-space project Creator Space is a way for you to make a tangible difference to global concerns through collaboration with leading figures from various industries. Discuss, add your ideas and meet like-minded individuals here -  BASF creator space


Sources: ecowatch; solarbusinesshub, naturalsociety, solaroad, BASF
Image: Shutterstock

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