18 years old Milan Karki created a cheap solar panel made from human hair.
18-year old Inventor, Milan Karki, from rural Nepal, claims to have come up with a new type of solar panel that uses human hair, a design he thinks could provide the developing world with cheap, green electricity. He has built several prototypes. Once manufactured, he thinks these panels could be half the cost of the cheapest solar panels now available.
Inspired by Stephen Hawkings’ discussion of ways to make static electricity from hair, Karki, theorizes that the Melanin (a play on his name?) in the hair enables it to act as a conductor, in place of expensive silicon. Melanin, a pigment that gives hair its colour, is light sensitive and also acts as a type of conductor.
His panel, which produces 18 Watts (9 volts at 2 amps), uses £23 in materials. The solar panel can charge a mobile phone or a pack of batteries capable of providing light all evening. Karki points out that half a kilo of hair can be bought for only 16p in Nepal and lasts a few months, whereas a pack of batteries would cost 50p and last a few nights and that people can replace the hair easily themselves, so his solar panels need little servicing.
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