by Andrew Michler

The dream of going wireless with a laptop or iPad becomes pretty meaningless when reality hits and you’re left with a battery drained to nothing. But Voltaic‘s new solar backpack brings things back into balance, giving you the option to recharge your laptop and other gadgets even if the sun isn’t shining! Incorporating a battery with a sewn in 10 watt monocrystal solar module, the setup has two power ports and four voltage settings connected to the 60 watt battery. The new backpack gives you the ability to recharge just about any portable device whenever you need to.



London Designer Creates a Super Futuristic Solar-Powered Concept Car

by Marc Carter

London designer Omer Sagiv created this solar-powered concept car that looks like it’s straight out of the latest sci-fi movie. The concept car is referred to as the SPV (Solar Power Vehicle) and Sagiv states that it’s made of aluminum with flexible thin modules fixed to it and that the shaft in the center of the SPV functions as an in-built cooling system. The aerodynamic shape of the concept allows it to collect energy in any sunny environment. Even better, the concept can also use the extra energy that it collects from its solar panels to power its owner’s house!


The high peaks of the Himalayas may soon be a beacon for adventurous solar power entrepreneurs, suggests a new study that identified the lofty region as having some of the world’s greatest potential to capture energy from the sun.

Other regions not traditionally considered hotbeds of solar power potential include the Andes of South America and Antarctica, note Takashi Oozeki and Yutaka Genchi with the National Institute of Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

In addition to copious amounts of sunlight, these regions are chillier than the usual suspects such as the southwestern United States and the deserts of North Africa. Colder temps increase the operational efficiency of certain photovoltaic solar cells, which turn sunlight into electricity.



Future Perfect Generating green energy in the desert

What’s Happening Right Now?

As far as meeting the ever growing energy need of the world is concerned, two distinct trends are clearly visible. First, there is a growing realization among policy makers, researchers and the general public that existing resources of energy are depleting faster than ever and that a permanent solution has not yet been found. Second, ideas for harnessing alternative sources of energy like water, wind, and sun are being implemented, even though on a small scale. As a part of the second trend, plans for harnessing solar energy in the vast spread deserts like the Sahara have been made in recent times, as you will see below.



Oriental Hornet Expert Solar Power Harvester

Do you know who is the most competent solar power expert, according to a research team from Tel Aviv University? It is the humble common Oriental hornet found in our gardens! Much to the astonishment of the scientists and researchers, the hornet utilizes solar power much like a plant and it produces electricity. Think how much easier it would be if only we could unravel how the hornet manages it. This discovery could revolutionize future solar power harvesting.

Photosynthesis process
Plants use the photosynthesis process to harvest energy from the sun. Scientists have been trying to mimic this for energy production, but with limited success. Now with hornet showing how to efficiently convert the sun’s rays into electricity, there is hope for other biological and living beings to follow suit and produce electricity themselves. This research opens up a lot of possibilities.

Research team
Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy research team, comprised of Prof. David Bergman, Marian Plotkin and (late) Prof. Jacob Ishay of Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Together they have been busy researching the hornet in an effort to mimic it’s solar harvesting abilities.

Hornet’s unique prowess in photosynthesis
From their research we have learned that the exoskeleton – the outer body shell of hornet, works by converting the abdomen of hornet into tiny solar cells. German journal, Naturwissenschaften, published these newly discovered powers of hornet. Another study has also found that the hornet’s biological harvesting capacity is directly proportional to the intensity of the sun.

What makes hornets remarkable?
The researchers were quite keen to learn more about the activity pattern of hornet. What is the most important aspect that makes the hornet more active in the afternoon, where other insects are more active in the earlier part of the day? Considering temperature, humidity and solar radiation, they found that UV B rays are the reason for the hornet’s activity level increasing along with sun’s intensity.

The photovoltaic pattern
The hornet has some really astonishing brown grooves to split the light into diverging beams. The brown and yellow bands absorb the radiation from sun. While the brown splits the light, the yellow pigments convert it into electricity. In the small pinhole depressions, there is xanthopterin – a pigment which along with the grooves in the brown bands and pinhole depressions makes electricity from sun rays. The outer shell locks in the light which is converted to power by the pigments.

Unique characteristics of the hornet
Along with harvesting solar power, the hornet has its own built-in top quality heat pump structure in its body, which is tuned to the highest grade of efficiency. While it gets more and more busy in the hot afternoon sun, it keeps its body cool – a rather difficult thing to do. The acoustic prowess of hornets guides them to build nests in total darkness but with remarkable accuracy and exactness.

Duplicating the hornet
Though the researchers tried to duplicate the hornet’s body structure in an effort to harvest solar energy for electricity production, they have yet to find success. Efforts are still ongoing to refine the model and seek better ways to emulate the hornet for power solutions. Let us hope that a successful prototype is soon realized, so we can harvest renewable solar energy as effortlessly as the hornet!

Source: alternative-energy