A Nepali teenager has come up with a way to use hair to replace silicon in solar cells. The melanin in the hair is photo sensitive and a conductor, and can be bought for pennies a kilo. Panels could be made for £23, or less when production is scaled up.
There’s no real explanation of what Milan Karki has done to the hair to take advantage of melanin’s attributes. If I find them I’ll investigate further.
Top eco-warrior Dick Sytrawbridge addresses some of the common misconceptions about making your home low energy and eco-friendly.
4) Most eco-renovation take decades to pay back the cost
Every time we decide to make an investment in an eco-project, the subject of payback comes up. It is possible to do the sums, and before we spend any hard earned cash I like to make sure that it’s a good investment. For example, loft insulation can pay for itself in two winters, and with the 2010 feed-in tariff I would expect solar PV to pay for itself in about seven or eight years, and a DIY solar thermal system to heat your hot water should have paid for itself in four or five years. But surely this is missing the point: when it comes to environmentally friendly projects we seem unable to accept the fact that it can be an investment and will add to the value of the house. What is the payback time for a new bathroom or kitchen? If you install solar photovoltaic panels you can reasonably expect them to easily last 25 to 30 years. Everyone knows a new kitchen makes a house more saleable, but in the current economic climate, how much more saleable is a house that will cost the new owners very little to run or may even generate an income?
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