Soylar Panels

Can I have some solar power with my soy milk, please?

Autor*in Jo Wilkinson, 09.03.14

Can I have some solar power with my soy milk, please?

Cheaper, cleaner solar cells could soon be a reality thanks to a team of scientists based in the UK. And guess what? The alternative they’ve put forward is the same ingredient used in the production of soy milk and tofu.

Historically, a solution of cadmium chloride is used as coating for thin-film solar cells. It increases the efficiency of converting the sun’s rays into energy by enabling electrons to pass across the surface of the cell. The downside to this is cadmium chloride is extremely potent chemical. It has been linked to cancer, lung disease and cardiovascular disease, and therefore requires the use of protective gear and other costly precautions.

The fix? The research group tested a number of alternatives to find a replacement, but it was magnesium chloride that took the cake. This non-toxic chemical costs 300 times less than cadmium chloride, and is harmless enough to use in the production of food products including soy milk and tofu.

While skeptics have deliberated over the exact cost-savings, the potential reduction in health and environmental risks appear hard to argue against.

Little Solar, Sunflower-esque Pieces of Solar Art

Little Sun brings light to homes in the form of a sunflower-shaped solar powered lamp.Dependence on kerosene-fuelled lanterns for light is an all-too-common occurrence in some developing countries. In fact, India even has the highest subsidy in place for distribution of kerosene tp its citizens living below poverty line.