While the developed nations of the world spend huge amounts of money trying to eek out just a little more efficiency from traditional solar panels made from silicon, an industrious young lad from Nepal has figured out how to use human hair to get 9V of electricity from the sun. The fine articles are a little light (ha!) on the science, but even if there’s some hyperbole in these reports you’ve got to admit that it’s still wicked cool to use human hair to convert solar rays into electricity.
Milan Karki has been on a quest to find reliable, renewable energy for his little village for some time. When he realized that Melanin, the pigment in hair that produces color, is a conductor of electricity he knew he was on to something.
‘First I wanted to provide electricity for my home, then my village. Now I am thinking for the whole world,’ said Milan, who attends school in the capital, Kathmandu.
Solar power via human hair is not only remarkably cheap, it’s also something that could be field serviced by nearly anyone, which I think is the real take-away from this story. It’s one thing to install a solar power solution, but it’s another to maintain it over the long haul. If villagers in Nepal can service these things themselves, look out world!