When the Sunlight strikes the Earth's surface, it has three major parts -- infrared, visible, and ultraviolet (UV) light. Among this, around 53% is infrared, 43% is visible light and 4% is ultraviolet.

A conventional Solar PV cells converts the visible light into energy and lack the capability to capture infrared and UV light. Though a recent hybrid-based PV material can absorb a portion of infrared light and convert them to electricity.

In a nutshell, solar panels mostly convert visible light into electrical energy and almost half the infrared energy. However, solar panels, despite of the fact that UV has most energy among all spectrum, use a small portion of UV, and this remains a problem...till now.

A new material, made from waste crop called "AuREUS" has been developed that converts UV light into renewable energy. AuREUS captures UV,  thus it can produce electricity even when not facing the sun -- or without direct sunlight.

AuREUS is made from upcycled crop waste that can be attached to existing structures to convert UV light into electricity.

Carvey Ehren Maigue with invented materialA 29-year-old Filipino engineering student, Carvey Ehren Maigue, designed this revolutionary material using luminescent particles from fruit and vegetable waste. He has even won the James Dyson Foundation Sustainability Award in 2020 for the panels he constructed at Mapua University in the Philippines.

These AuREUS's particles absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays and turn them into visible light. The panels are then able to convert this harvested light into electricity.

Since AuREUS harness Ultraviolet rays and notably the UV rays reach on the earth surface even in cloudy days, there is huge potential to scale the technology up in areas where conventional solar panel, that required direct sunlight, are not feasible.

Carvey got the inspiration for AuREUS from the phenomenon of "how Auroras are made". High energy(gamma, UV) are degraded to low energy state (visible light) by luminescent particles in the atmosphere. The tech is based on this concept and used similar functioning particles.

AuREUS upcycles fruit and vegetable scraps. [ Image credits - The James Dyson Foundation]

To upcycle the wasted crops of the farmers that were hit by natural disasters about 78 types of local crops tested, of which 9 showed high potential. These crop waste then crushed, juiced and filtered to extract the luminescent particles, which are then suspended in resin.

The resulting material can be moulded into cladding and clamped to walls, or sandwiched between two panes of double glazed window to start generating renewable energy for the building. 

How AuREUS Works

AuREUS, when hen hit by UV light, the particles absorb and re-emit visible light along the edges due to internal reflectance. PV cells are placed along the edges to capture the visible light emitted. The captured visible light are then converted to DC electricity. Regulating circuits will process the voltage output to allow battery charging, storage, or direct utilization of electricity.

AuREUS is essentially a material, or a technology, that allows other devices to harvest ultraviolet light and convert it into electricity. 

AuREUS is based on a plastic material, so it can be formed into different shapes. Carvey, the inventor, has made a 3 x 2 foot prototype panel installed in a window of his apartment, capable of generating enough electricity to charge two phones each day


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