I read an article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, which talked about a Strange new discovery coming from a teenager from Nepal.
The News Claims that a boy had managed to create a working Solar Panel without actually using any silicon semiconductors (the basic ingredient of SolarPanel). Instead, he used the the thing that is available for free –Human Hair. He claims that he was able to achieve 9v, 18W solar panel.
The silicon semiconductor is what that makes the price go high, and hence difficult for developing countries to adopt.
‘I’m trying to produce commercially and distribute to the districts. We’ve already sent a couple out to the districts to test for feasibility,’ he said.
‘I searched for new, other renewable, affordable sources. People in these places are living the life of the stone age even in the 21st century,’ he said.
Milan, whose hero is the inventor Thomas Eddison, describes himself as lucky because his family could afford for him to receive a proper education while many other villagers are forced to work from an early age. Most of those from his village are illiterate.
There are a number of new technologies that are helping bring down the cost, the Guy managed to make his solar panel for only $39. He also claims that when mass produced the price could drop substantially down to under $10 a panel. This could be the cheapest Solar panel ever Built! This is insanely crazy. Scientists working on solar panels took years to come out with something that got defied by a kid.
How it Works:
Some chemistry is involved here.
The melanin in hair acts as an organic-semiconductor, and while the hair does not have the longevity that silicon panels have (months rather than years), these panels can be made cheaply and serviced with little to no complex knowledge. Using melanin as an organic semiconductor seems to be a newer idea, because information seems hard to come by, but we managed to find a research paper from 2007 that explored the energy absorption attributes of melanin, as well as some good background info for the science types.
If you wish to read further Follow the Original Paper (in PDF)