The future is bright

March 10 2008 / by Eriks Brolis / In association with Future
Category: Energy   Year: General   Rating: 18

‘I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.’ Thomas Edison made that strong proclamation to Henry Ford in 1931. Edison’s confidence most likely stemmed from the fact that our sun is responsible for the propagation of life in addition to the vast majority of available energy on earth. (The most notable sub-surface exceptions being the energy potential of nuclear and geothermal which each come with their slew of challenges)

Wind is a “by-product” of the sun, created by the diurnal (day & night) effect of warming and cooling. Fossil fuels are simply what their name suggests – the fossilized remains of living organisms. Coal was the flora that photosynthesized the sun’s power; oil, natural gas, tar sands (collectively petrochemicals) the fauna. In short, the sun is responsible for the life and lifestyles here on earth both directly and indirectly.

If you believe that humans will be most effective by mimicking universal biological patterns and are already “regressing” in that direction (as I strongly do) this begs the question…What is the most direct way to sustainably harness the power of the sun? I assert that the two means that are most effective are (i) passive solar design and (ii) photovoltaic electricity production.

Continue Reading

Future iPhones Will Be Solar-Powered

May 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

I’m already big on the future of the iPhone, particularly its potential for underdeveloped regions like the African continent, so Apple’s latest patent filing for a solar-powered iPhone only serves to further my belief that the device will not only go big, but also spread very broadly.

According to Mac Rumours who first discovered the patent application:

The most interesting technique described by Apple … is the integration of the solar panels behind the actual LCD screen of a portable device. The solar panel would absorb ambient light that passes through the LCD screen of the device. ... If successfully implemented, Apple’s iPhone, iPod and laptops, could require no outward changes in design to add solar power.

As the price of both iPhone components and photovoltaic (PV) cells comes down steadily, this will add to the appeal of the increasingly coveted device, especially in resource-strapped areas as rising oil prices gradually push up the cost of manufacturing, transportation and electricity.

Adding solar cells beneath LCD screens is such an elegant no-brainer that it’s difficult to imagine a period in the near future when all mobile phones/computers aren’t forced to integrate solar. The main plausible alternative I can see is the prevalence of small plug-in PV power stations (either based at home, mounted on the car or worn) that can directly or indirectly charge mobile devices. But even then, just knowing that your device can charge autonomously still seems quite desirable.

In what year will a solar-powered iPhone hit the market?

or Show Results