Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) September 16, 2009 -- Great excitement has been created among hairdressers, as well as eco-friendly advocates, with the break-through of a new method of solar panel. From diamonds to solar panels, hairdressers may find themselves making a lot of money from the byproducts of their hairdressing salons.
Just as technology was used to create cultured pearls, now technology provides a method whereby diamonds can be created from human hair. The value of this new technology was demonstrated when it was announced that 10 diamonds would be created from a lock of Michael Jackson's hair.
Now the use of human hair has been taken a further step as Milan Karki, an 18 year old student, from a rural village in Nepal, who has produced a new type of renewable energy solar panel using human hair. Most of the people from Milanâs village are illiterate, still living as many of their ancestors did.
Milan says he can produce a human hair-based solar panel, which will create 8watts of electricity, even though most panels use silicon. "If mass produced they could be sold for a quarter of the price of those already on the market", said Milan. "We've already sent a couple of panels to the districts to test for feasibility. The villagers were skeptical at first".
Milan attends school in the capital, Kathmandu. "I wanted to provide electricity for my home, then my village. Now I am thinking for the whole world".
After reading physicist Stephen Hawking' book on creating static energy from hair, Milan received the inspiration for his invention. Melanin, a pigment that gives hair its colour, is light sensitive and acts as a conductor. Milan and his four classmates initially designed the solar panel as an experiment, but the teens are convinced it has wide use and is commercial viable.
The solar panel can charge a mobile phone or a pack of batteries capable of providing light all evening. Karki admits that hair will degrade at a faster rate than the more expensive silicon, but people can easily replace the hair themselves, as the solar panels require little or no maintenance.
Costing around $50, Milan's invention could provide a massive break through for developing countries, where electricity is still a luxury. "Half a kilo of hair can be purchased for only 16p in Nepal and lasts for a few months, whereas a pack of batteries would cost 50p and last a few nights". said Milan.
Three years after first coming up with the idea, Milan says it is more important than ever because of the crucial need for renewable energies in the face of finite power sources and global warming.
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