It may sound incredibly strange, but scientists working to unlock the secrets of physics may have found an unlikely candidate for the upcoming solar power brainstorm. But if light can be made to give a clear material magnetic properties, what material will we need to use? And how could this property be harnessed to create energy? And will it be more efficient than current solar power?
While it may not be more efficient than solar power as it exists today, scientists suggest it may actually be far cheaper. And cheaper solar power is one of the key components sustainable energy advocates are looking for. At current costs, a consumer model promising 1.5 kilowatts of power can be found with a price tag in the thousands. 1.5 kilowatts of power will not at current consumption allow for a home to function as most do, but will certainly power lights and laptops. But in the winter, when most power is consumed there will be a need for heating among things. And the solution may come without solar cells.
Solar power cells have thus far been photovoltaic with the light entering the solar panels causing a chemical reaction and exchange of electrons. But if this thus far unexplored property of light collection is thoroughly studied it might mean energy that isn’t necessarily free, but certainly cheap. The scientists hoping to take the next step toward this incredible change have Stephen Rand and William Fisher heading projects hoping to shed light on the subject. Of course this light will be using power consuming lasers at first, but eventually will branch out into more commonly found sunlight sent through a focusing lens and then channeled through optic cables in the future.
But the key component that may still be missing is a material that will react to light far faster than glass does currently. Fisher, in an interview with Science Daily said the process may work better with thus far untested materials such as transparent ceramics.
So what does this mean if scientists manage to capture it? Solar power is an excellent source of low yield power in certain circumstances and could greatly diminish the energy drain on an area if each home powered their lights with custom generators. But unfortunately up until now the power cost up to tens or even hundreds of thousands to make a standard home fully off the grid. If new solar power could be created at a fraction of the cost, it may be able to compete in a market that is only generally interested in solar power as a means of saving the planet or preparing for emergencies. By becoming an economically superior method of power generation, it could catch on in a tremendously powerful way. More solar power would mean less fuel consumption and more fuel to be used for other needs such as cars. And with many homes gaining independence from power companies, this too could change the face of the United States and the world in a major way.