Posts tagged plastic

Day Without a Bag

Today is California’s Heal the Bay organization’s Day Without a Bag.   Even if for only one day a year, take today to refuse all disposable bags.  If you need one, use a renewable reusable tote.  If you live in Los Angeles County, then consider yourself lucky – today all around the county sponsors are giving away free reusable totes for people interested in greening their lives. Want to know where?  Go to this site: www.healthebay.org and look up the disbursement locations.  Everyone else, well, I guess you’ll have to campaign your local orgs to run a similar program next year.  In the meantime, start by using one less of the average 500+ plastic bags Americans consume each year!

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Solar Plastic: Film of the Future

National Geographic article on Solar plastics

Sargent Group – Inventors of Solar Plastic

Ted Sargent’s Home Page (the inventor, a globally recognized young innovator)

So this article is from 2005, not exactly hot-off-the-presses.   But it’s an interesting look at a new technology: solar cells that absorb both the visible and infrared spectrums of light and process them into usable energy.  Not only that, they’re based in a spray solution for ease of application across a variety of surfaces.  A spray-on plastic coating that could charge your car while driving or your cell-phone while walking are great ideas, with a billion more applications to be dreamed up along the way.  I’m now going to search for more information on this technology, and will report whatever I find to you as it comes in. 

Even now, I’m envisioning spray-painting a backyard deck/patio with a plastic coating that weather proofs it, and makes it more attractive, all while powering solar evening lamps or CMOS security sensors around a property’s perimeter, perhaps also powering a sensor-activated automatic watering system for garden plantings.  Or, on a less serious tack, maybe creating a line of ultra-mod swimwear that uses solar plastics and a closed system of lighting to create light-up fashions?  How cool would that look underwater?  What do you see in your solar dreams?

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Solar Power While You Sleep

Idaho National Lab Solar Cell

Look like the future of solar?  Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory think so.  This sheet of plastic is covered with millions of nano-scale collectors that reach potential efficiencies of up to 80%!  That blows current solar technologies out of the water.  And it’s cheaper to make these cells, too.   They use common ingredients and can be printed on flexible plastics, like bags.  Now, you ready for the good news?  (yeah, it get’s better)  These nano-antennae are tuned into infrared energy, which is radiated down on us all day by the sun and re-radiated back from the Earth at night.  Which translates to the fact that these solar collectors don’t need their beauty sleep like regular solar cells.  They pull overtime, day in and day out.  Only problem?  They haven’t figured out how to convert the energy into something useful by humans… yet.  Well, when you get that covered, guys, put me on the customer list!

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