To the average person, the word “organic” means naturally-sourced and healthful. In the world of chemistry, “organic” means any molecule that contains carbon atoms – including quite a few chemicals that should not be eaten, breathed-in or rubbed on your skin. The work of an Organic Voltaics Engineer embraces a more mainstream definition of “organic” by focussing on creating and increasing the efficiency of energy and light sources using the forces and non-toxic resources of nature in a way that is healthful and renewable.
Open to a world of possibilities, the Organic Voltaics Engineer:
- Considers all forms of non-polluting, naturally-sourced energy.
- Seeks to replace toxic elements of energy production, storage and use with non-toxic substitutes designed to easily “plug-in” to existing infrastructure (from floor lamps to power plants).
- Takes a holistic approach, viewing the system (energy capture→ transmittion/storage → use) as a whole and working in collaboration with others around the globe to minimize the environmental impact of all parts of the system. It’s not just about replacing energy, it’s also about being more efficient in our use of energy.
Potential Energy Sources Organic Voltaics Engineers consider:
- Solar and wind power
- Oceanic Power – Salt Water voltaics, Tidal power
- Hydrogen Fuel Cells – diverting renewable hydrogen used in fertilizer or to desulfurize gasoline and kerosene to this more environmentally friendly use
- Microbial Fuel Cells and Bacterial Batteries
- Renewable Biofuels, Sewage, Excess Body Heat
- Applications with an energy source built-in such as Bacteria-Powered Light Bulbs
Some of the problems Organic Voltaics Engineers tackle:
- Finding energy saving solutions that “fit” into the energy consuming items people use every day. For example, working with lighting manufacturers to design light bulbs that use a lot less electricity while being affordable, fitting into common household light fixtures, providing a pleasant light and eliminating toxic ingredients such as mercury.
- Replace kerosene lamps with cheap, environmentally-friendly lighting that doesn’t require traditional electricity infrastructure. Kerosene Lamps are used by more than a quarter of the world’s population, often in close quarters, throwing particles into the air that harm the health of people (especially children) in developing countries.
- Designing energy storage solutions for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Unlike hydro or nuclear energy that produces a steady stream of electricity, solar or wind power only create energy when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, respectively. This creates a problem because our society depends on a constant flow of electricity. A low-cost, long-life “flow” battery that stores up electrical energy and then releases it as it’s needed would go a long way to making solar and wind power reliable and practical major supplies of electrical power.
In addition to knowledge and technical expertise in their area(s) of specialization, Organic Voltaics Engineers will require excellent collaboration skills as they work with other professionals such as Industrial Designers, Recyclable Design Specialists, Microbiologists, 3R Fabric Engineers and Renewable Energy Engineers. Organic Voltaics Engineers will require creativity and vision to find solutions that help bridge existing infrastructure and appliances to the future. In those parts of the developed world largely lacking modern infrastructure, the sky is literally and figuratively the limit, as entirely new solutions will be required.