Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let there be LIGHT!

Let there be LIGHT!...Light research or solar research that is...MIT has a new research center called the  Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center where 21 faculty members are working to bring us clean energy sources that are affordable!  The goal of the center is to "fundamentally transform how the world produces and consumes energy", which in my humble opinion is long overdue.   Any chance for clean energy that reduces our use of fossil fuels while meeting the energy demands,  protects the planet from further degradation and climate change, AND is affordable is a no-brainer, a win-win, and much needed!

The Center is being funded largely by the Italian energy company Eni.  Eni's chief executive Paolo Scaroni has invested because current technology is too inefficient and expensive, and his company is looking to the future.  The MIT Center's scientists will work to make solar cells that are less expensive, and with materials that are more flexible.  Plants will provide inspiration to the scientists, as they model their work on the way plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight to fuel by using water to store collected sunlight and convert it to energy.  Another promising engineering advancement is a parabolic solar panel inspired by the Mars rover which increases efficiency by reducing dust from settling on panels.  

In addition, the Center is working on other groundbreaking technology such as light bulbs with nanoscale crystals and experimenting with solar cells on paper.  Imagine if their research results in affordable solar for all, and extremely efficient bulbs?  That would be solar "flare" we'd all be happy about.  I can't wait to see how the "light at the end of this tunnel" turns out :)

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