Food waste solar panels win James Dyson Sustainability Award

30 November 2020

The James Dyson Foundation has announced the inaugural winner of its Sustainability Award.

Carvey Ehren Maigue from Mapua University in Manila, the Philippines, was selected for his creation of AuRES, a cladding material made from waste crops that can generate clean energy from ultraviolet light.

Maigue's technology is based around particles that glow when they absorb UV light, with the visible light produced by this process then converted into electricity by regular photovoltaic cells. Unlike traditional solar panels that rely on visible light, AuRES's use of UV means that it also works under cloudy weather conditions.

The luminiscent particles used by Maigue's system are derived from waste agricultural crops. The crops are crushed, with the juices then filtered, distilled or steeped before being suspended in resin.

“I see great potential in Carvey’s technology to generate clean renewable energy,” said James Dyson, the award's founder. “AuREUS System Technology conserves space using pre-existing structures, utilises current resources and waste streams, and supports local agricultural communities. His bright idea to use upcycled crop waste develops a closed loop system. This element of his invention is particularly clever and shows the close link between farming and technology.”

Maigue said: “Winning the James Dyson Award is both a beginning and an end. It marked the end of years of doubting whether my idea would find global relevance. It marks the beginning of the journey of finally bringing AuREUS System Technology to the world. I want to create a better form of renewable energy that uses the world’s natural resources, is close to people's lives, forging achievable paths and rallying towards a sustainable and regenerative future.”