In order to fight against climate change and diminishing fossil fuel reserves, scientists are working to invent new sources of renewable energy. We all are aware of renewable energies, but have you heard of solar cells made with human hair?
According to Milan Karki, a teenager from Nepal, a new type of solar panel using human hair could provide a cheap and green solution to the developing world’s energy needs. He claims pigment in hair, called Melanin which gives color to hair, is light sensitive and can also act as a conductor to electricity. He found human hair could be used to replace silicon in solar panels.
Karki tried to create affordable renewable energy from hydro currents but he found the project to be too expensive. From the book by Stephan Hawking which discussed ways of creating static energy from hair, he got this idea that hair could possibly serve as a substitute conductor.
As silicon is a costly component of solar panels and the price of hair is considerably cheaper than silicon, this breakthrough technology can bring down the cost to generate energy.
The solar panel using human hair, which is around 15 inches square, produces 9 V (18 W) of energy and costs around $38. A solar hair panel is estimated to be four times cheaper than an industrial made solar panel of comparable capacity.
Using materials which are common to everyone in the world, this low cost and low tech device could help bring power to masses.