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Light Recycling Wallpaper

A system to re-absorb unused light.
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,

When you sit in a room, there is a great deal of light that's not really necessary. Light is cast all over the place, wasting energy. Why not use something similar to solar panels in a wallpaper to reabsorb the heat and light, to be used again. Of course you wouldn't be able to stop waste entirely (the law of unequal returns assures that) but it does seem like a waste. The technology would definitely have some use in the aerospace industry, where energy is at a premium.
thelumberjack, May 26 2002

Transparent PV Panel Has Potential http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/BODY_EH323
[edited by mighty_cheese] [phoenix, May 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Scientists Craft New Solar Panel Technology http://www.abcnews....tingedge020404.html
[phoenix, May 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Thinner Materials Improve Flexible Solar Cells http://www.scienced...04/020410075934.htm
[phoenix, May 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Integrated design of Solar Photovoltaic and Transparent Glass Panel http://www.ecotech.com.hk/pv.htm
[phoenix, May 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Towards a PV Architecture http://www.smartarc...s/smartarch799.html
[edited by mighty_cheese] [phoenix, May 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

STA Titania Solar Cells http://www.sta.com.au/sol_cell.htm
[edited by mighty_cheese because I hate ALL CAPS] [phoenix, May 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       //definitely have some use in the aerospace industry//   

       How so? We tend not to wallpaper the kit.
drew, May 26 2002

       This seems to only work if you like black walls...
RobertKidney, May 26 2002

       Is there any *real* reason why this couldn't be used in aerospace? You guys have been watching Apollo 13 too much. The insides of spacecraft nowadays don't look like the inside of an overly complicated moonshine still. They cover the walls because it makes it more difficult to damage equipment that way. There's no reason why it couldn't be used. Perhaps if it were to instantly convert the light into heat and bounce it back into the room, to save on heating costs?
thelumberjack, May 28 2002

       Glow-in-the-dark wallpaper would be kind of creepy
thumbwax, May 28 2002

       Far better to use the excess light to grow runner beans up the insides of your walls.
pottedstu, May 28 2002

       [thelumberjack]: As someone from the aerospace industry, take it from me - the insides of modern day spacecraft look _just_ like your standard, off the shelf, top model moonshine still. Saving light isn't an issue. There's heaps of it outside, and it's really bright compared to the light inside.
drew, May 28 2002

       1.4 kilowatts/sq.meter - light outside the aerospace skin in its intended habitat.
neelandan, May 28 2002

       [neelandan]: What is 1.4 kilowatts/sq.meter ?
drew, May 28 2002

       Yeah, I know - it was more a point for neelandan - a number on its own is useless.   

       On the other hand, as we voyage further away from our local friendly star, then there could be merit in soaking up the energy 'lost' from the excess light. The power available falls off quite a bit as the craft moves further from the source, using those pesky inverse square laws etc. I still think the smart money would be well placed away from the wallpaper industry though.
drew, May 28 2002

       The most efficient way to use energy is to find a purpose for it in the form it is already in. Don't try to absorb and transform the light, but reflect it back into the room as light. Then, instead of using multiple 100W lamps to illuminate the space, you should be able to get by with 5-10W. Of course, now all the walls look very much white instead of very much black. But certainly that has to be less depressing, doesn't it?
BigBrother, May 28 2002

       Very much mirrored, I should think. Of course, life in a can as we leave Earth is likely to be very boring, so the amusement of being Louis XIV or a porn star (or *both*!) will be an added benefit.
hello_c, May 29 2002

       to pick up on an old subject here i go. have a room with all 2 way mirror walls. sun shines, the light keeps on bouncing back and forth till it hits an object. and then cooks it or sets it on fire..... nevermind
I2RI, Jun 11 2003

       Care to explain how reflecting light off a mirrored surface intensifies it?
egbert, Jun 11 2003

       What about implementing this on the outside? Should collect more energy there.
babyloon, Jun 11 2003

       //convert the light into heat and bounce it back into the room, to save on heating costs// This technology exists. It's called black paint.
Worldgineer, Jun 11 2003

       The energy it takes to make the panels will exceed the energy it will provide.
JohnnyOla, Jun 12 2003

       [buddha], a 100W light bulb won't get very much heat unless it's focussed to a microscopic point - remember, full sunlight is at least 10 times more powerful.   

       Looking at [egbert]'s idea...good-quality astronomical mirrors absorb 2-5% of the light that hits them. Methinks that's 20-50 bounces until it dissipates. But if you could put a powerful LED on the ceiling, a big Gallium-arsenide crystal in the middle, and a few lenses and mirrors in the right places, you could make a passable laser out of your room.
Macwarrior, Nov 13 2003

       I think the person who things Glow in the dark wallpaper is kinda creepy may have hit on something. PV cells are expensive but glow in the dark stuff is really cheap. sunlight, or whatever lights the room during the day and for a couple of hours after dark the walls, or maybe the ceiling gives off light.
tedhaubrich, Jun 01 2004

       just use task lighting that is focused on what your are doing, or use tinfoil for wallpaper so the light reflects around until it hits something that is not reflective.
macrumpton, Jun 02 2004

       turning electricity into light just so you can turn it back into electricity? no.   

       if you want to make better use of the light, have bright coloured walls, no dark coloured solar panals. and as for the heat, light bulbs don't waste heat, and i'll tell you why:   

       first off, you have to understand that i'm english. like most englishmen, i heat my house 24hrs/day, every day of the year. this explanation will hold less water if you're from a hot country, where you might want to light a room, but not heat it. you see the 'waste' heat produced by a light bulb isn't actually wasted - it's right there, in the room with you. a 100W bulb produces 70W of heat - that's 70W less for the radiator to provide!
seanbo, Dec 19 2004

       As a bonus, the other 30W of light is rapidly converted into heat as it's absorbed into everything in your room.
Worldgineer, Dec 20 2004

       I read an idea to replace street lighting with people having lamps on there heads. Stuff outside would have to have a retroreflective coating, and then a much larger proportion of the light is returned to the person who provides the light. From a column Daedalus by David Jones in Nature. The column in general is full of fun half-baked ideas.
caspian, Dec 20 2004


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