The Future of Solar

The Future of Solar

Energy from the sun is being created all around us, biosolar cells are not a new technical solution.  Energy is created through photosynthesis, so what people are doing is just re-engineering this process. An example of this is energy harvesting using algae in architecture, where tanks of algae grown on the facade. This material is then taken off site and turned into biofuel. Organisms, materials and hybrid systems can be used to create artificial photosynthesis, which could be the next big thing in material science and the future of sustainability. Using these technologies within products such as clothing allows us to create our own energy at a larger scale, enabling us to work with nature.


Emma Van Der Leest has created How to Biodesign where she speaks to those in the field about different topics. In the episode Harvesting solar energy with living materials she speaks to Huub de Groot: Professor of Biophysical organic chemistry & PhD and Miguel Mayorga: CEO of Green Fluidics, a Mexican startup, developing revolutionary solar biopanels that use microalgae and nanofluids.

You can listen here 


Invisibly integrated solar cells have been created to sit within textiles by researchers at Aalto University. The Sun-powered Textiles project looks at solar energy harvesting using textile-based wearables. They hope that by hiding the cells within the garment it would create more freedom of design while still producing enough energy. The energy-autonomous textile generates its own energy by using light as a renewable energy source. In addition to sunlight, it can generate energy from artificial light, too and turns it into power for products such as wearables.


Although perhaps not looking at light as an energy source, Kunihiko Morinaga’s work is receptive to light, and could help us look at how we can utilise light in the future.  Kunihiko Morinaga’s experimental label, ANREALAGE creates clothing where light bounces off of the seemingly all-white textiles. These photosensitive materials create a kaleidoscope of patterns on their surfaces, mimicking those seen on beetles and butterfly wings. The materials themselves have been made from innovative materials that are antibacterial and antiviral by using copper fibres. He also experiments with earth thread that can decompose in soil within 30 days.



Emma Van Der Leest

Department of Design (Aalto University)

Department of Applied Physics (Aalto University) 

Kunihiko Morinaga