Today’s Solutions: June 28, 2022

When you see the new sunlight-absorbing material developed by Carvey Ehren Maigue, an engineering student from the Philippines, the colors might remind you of the Aurora Borealis. 

In fact, Auroras were what inspired Maigue when he named his new game-changing material, AuREUS. This is a new highly absorbent solar material with incredible flexibility and applications.

AuREUS: a solar breakthrough

The material is made from the luminescent particles of fruit and vegetable waste, using the produce’s natural photoreceptive compounds to absorb more light, and they look like any flexible neon-colored plexiglass. Like plants, the revolutionary material is able to absorb sparsely available sunlight, meaning that it will be able to take in small amounts of ultraviolet light and convert it to energy, even on a cloudy day. 

In 2020, this invention won Maigue the James Dyson Foundation Sustainability Award. 

The material is very easily manipulated, like plastic, and can be molded to assume many shapes and purposes. 

“Upcycling” 

To obtain resources for the AuREUS’ production, Maigue and his team used crops that were uprooted and unsellable after major natural disasters, such as typhoons. The team crushed the crops, pureed them, filtered them, extracting luminescent particles from the crops with the highest potential, and then put them in a resin. 

Every part of AuREUS’ development has strong sustainability, embracing what’s called “upcycling,” the productive repurposing of waste materials

The next step in solar

Discussing how he wanted to further his invention, Maigue said to euronews.green “I want to create threads and fabric so that even your clothes would be able to harvest ultraviolet light and convert it into electricity.”

With Maigue’s prototype he was able to charge two cell phones a day with a two-by-three-foot panel of his AuREUS. This was only the beginning, though. Imagine an entire building paneled with this material. 

AuREUS could be adapted to put on cars, boats, buildings, etc. This material can be put anywhere people normally mount solar panels and more. Maigue intends for AuREUS next step toward widespread solar energy, much the same way computers became accessible to the public via cell phones. 

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