By Don Geagan
Imagine a world where energy is clean and free. Where nations no longer have to encroach on, or fight over, their neighbor’s resources and where concerns over global warming are a thing of the past. Sounds like a fairytale or heaven on earth? Thanks to a major breakthrough in solar technology, that is what researchers at UCLA are apparently developing in our own back yard.
UCLA’s California Nanosystems Institute announced an organic polymer that can turn virtually any hard, flat surface into an electric power generator. The applications boggle the mind, and when fully developed, will transform the way that humanity develops and utilized electric power.
This “solar film” literally harvests light and turns it into electricity. It can be applied to the exteriors of buildings, and equally stunning, this polymer can be applied to the outside of cars and airplanes and may, very well, do way with the need to ‘fill up the tank’. Since this miraculous substance is also organic, it has the potential to mitigate, if not alleviate, global warming.
Along with the solar film, researchers have developed a new electrode, a metal, which appears to be transparent. Thus you have a new solar cell. But the truth is, the electrode is not actually transparent, it’s just that the silver nanowires are so small that they are imperceivable to the human eye. These nanowires are about one one-thousandth the width of a single strand of human hair.
This malleable and highly durable polymer utilizes the infrared part of the light spectrum. Currently, isolating the infrared spectrum is a less-efficient way to make electricity, converting about 6% of the sun’s energy into electrical current. Researchers believe that by using the new technology they will double or even triple that conversion rate in 3 to 5 years.
When you consider that enough sunlight hits the Earth’s surface in one hour to power the entire world for a year, the potential of these new photovoltaic cells to generate clean and free energy is inexhaustible.
The Obama administration is currently pushing hard for more “Green technology”. It appears that this new solar film is the greenest of green technology.
As astounding as all these technological and energy breakthroughs sound, one must consider the rather positive international ramifications of such a new energy paradigm. Namely, the lessening of tensions and/or wars now fought over our planet’s very limited natural resources.
In other words, no more blood for oil. No more need for hundreds of American military bases all over the world in order to protect U.S. oil company’s pipelines and profits.
Could harnessing the true power of the sun actually bring about world peace?
It sure couldn’t hurt.