Collage of images with a butterfly, a mansion and an atom.

Green Tech Briefing: 30th October

Oct 30, 2017 - 2min read

Chris Russell, Tonik’s MD, has rifled through this week’s green tech news and picked out the highlights so you don’t have to:

Scientists have copied butterfly wings to create a solar cell that harvests light twice as efficiently:

Taking inspiration from nature, a group of scientists led by Radwanul Siddique have modelled solar panels on the wings of a Southeast Asian butterfly. The insect is cold-blooded which means it needs to absorb energy from sunlight to fly, hence the evolution of its incredibly efficient black wings. Siddique is currently working on applying the underlying principles of the wing structure to solar panels which could produce more power throughout the day. 

A mansion powered by natural energy eliminates bills entirely:

Casa Aguila might be the perfect solution to upkeep costs and utility bills. The 3,123-square-foot home can comfortably house a family, while deriving all of its power from the nature around it. Relying on rainwater, it can store up to 90,000 gallons of the free stuff. It is also equipped with a system of solar panels, the energy from which is stored in a battery system. The green home was built by Pete Beauregard and Amy McQuillan, who set out to build an eco-conscious home after losing their home to Californian wildfires. 

Marije Vogelzang explores the future of food at Dutch Design Week:

In the face of depleting resources, Vogelzang explored suggestions for what we might consume in years to come, from saltwater carrots to insect sausages. The Embassy of Food exhibition offers an insight into how food will be grown, processed, transported and eaten in the future, and how farming systems could change as a result of food scarcity and new technologies.

Fusion energy could provide the world with a near limitless, clean source of power:

New scientific research proposes that fusion energy is the future. By using two lighter atomic nuclei to form a heavier nucleus, it is possible to generate electricity in the same way that the sun creates energy. However, scientists have as of yet been unable to generate more power from the fusion than it takes to create the reactions in the first place.

Transparent solar power:

A new transparent solar cell technology could soon be used to harvest the untapped energy potential from building and car windows, cell phones and other objects with a transparent surface. Scientists at Michigan State University have pioneered solar technology that doesn’t disrupt the view when placed over a window, offering a promising route to inexpensive, widespread solar adoption on previously inaccessible surfaces.