Invention that produces renewable energy from rotting vegetables wins James Dyson Award | Technology


A new material made from decaying fruits and vegetables that absorbs stray UV light from the sun and converts it into renewable energy earned its designer the first sustainability gong of this year’s James Dyson Awards.Out of a record 1,800 entries – despite the challenges of Covid-19 – the award went to Carvey Ehren Maigue, 27, a student at the University of Mapúa in the Philippines, for his Aureus system which uses natural scientific principles from the northern lights.

The other grand prize in the international competition went to the inventor of a low-cost biomedical device that can be used at home to detect breast cancer, harnessing artificial intelligence to analyze urine.

Aureus is made from crop waste and can be attached in panels to windows and walls. It allows high-energy photons to be absorbed by luminescent particles derived from fruits and vegetables, which re-emit them as visible light. Unlike solar panels, the system is effective even when not directly facing the sun as it can pick up UV rays through clouds and bounce off walls, sidewalks and other buildings.

Maigue, who was forced to return to the drawing board with her invention after an earlier version proved too expensive, said: “Winning the James Dyson Award is both a beginning and an end. This marked the end of the years when I doubted my idea would find global relevance. I want to create a better form of renewable energy that uses the world’s natural resources, is close to people’s lives, paving achievable paths towards a sustainable and regenerative future.

The two winners, who each receive a cash prize of £ 30,000 to further develop their inventions, were praised by the judges for tackling issues of global importance; sustainable methods to efficiently generate renewable energy and women missing breast cancer screening.

The global global award went to Judit Giró Benet, a 23-year-old postgraduate student for her Blue Box, which offers a simple at-home alternative to routine mammography screening.

Benet, originally from Tarragona, Spain, and now studying at the University of California at Irvine, was inspired by her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and – with 40% of women not showing up for their mammograms – the need for a less invasive and more accessible alternative. . His early work explored the evidence that dogs detected cancer in humans after sniffing their breath.

Now in its 15th year, the James Dyson Prize is present in 27 countries and is open to students and recent graduates studying product design, industrial design and engineering. It recognizes and rewards imaginative design solutions to global problems.

The Tire Collective, a group of master’s students from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, was one of two finalists for their solution to the growing plague of tire wear caused by road transport . The other is Scope, students at the University of Waterloo, Canada, who have designed a new lens that uses liquid crystal to deliver high quality enlarged photos on cell phone cameras.


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