People view power generation as an ugly thing, regardless of how green it is. Wind turbines, hydropower stations, even solar panels have met their fair share of haters. This is why, a Japanese professor took on the task to create a renewable energy mean that is undeniably beautiful.
Hiroshi Segawa, a professor from the Research Centre for Advances Science and Technology (RCAST) at University of Tokyo designed a dye-sensitised solar cell that can brighten up any room, and this is not only by providing green power to the LED lights. The prototype is state-of-the-art solar technology, called Annabelle, which is made of beautifully decorated flowery solar cells that are fitted into a sleek wood box.
The energy generating part of the design is in the leaves, while the energy storage is in the flower. The colour of the petals changes from white to blue, as the device charges, and back to white as it discharges. The stunning decoration is only 20cm (8inch) wide, but it can harness and store enough energy to power a typical smart phone device twice.
Although the solar sector is growing with an incredible speed, and the new and improved solar cells are much more efficient in power generation than Segawa’s organic cells, the professor is convinced that his prototype has an added value. Not only that it brings beauty to any room or office space, it works perfectly well even when the light is very weak.
Of course, the professor is not planning to stop here. On the contrary, he is now working on shaping up his solar cells to resemble our old time favourite cartoon characters, and even real people. His latest attempts include a cell that looks like the French President Francois Hollande and another one of the very popular in Japan computer-generated pop star Hatsune Miku.
Image (c) RCAST