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Renewable energy

Solar power in the future

All life on earth is powered by the sun. The base of all life is plants, which capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis. Predator animals eat vegetarian animals, who eat plants, thus sharing the same captured sun energy around all other life forms.

If plants can do it, can we learn to do this too? Plants use the most efficient system for energy capture that we know of, making human efforts look very poor by comparison. The biggest dream of solar power is to understand how plants capture energy well enough that we can make an artificial copy of the process that can generate power.

This is precisely the work being done by Daniel Nocera, professor of chemistry at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the USA.
Read more about his work here

Next: Biomass

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New materials

G24i, a company in Wales has started making solar panels that are printed on to thin films of plastic. This new material is so sensitive it can generate current from the background light in a room. Imagine charging your mobile phone just by leaving it on the table rather than in your pocket.
More info

Activity: This new solar plastic film is expected to provide portable power for gadgets where there is no conventioanl electricty supply. What advantages could this new technology have for developing countries?