Nepalese Teen Invents Cheap Solar Panel Using Human Hair

by , 08/30/14

human hair, nepal, nepalese teen, innventor, teen innventor, solar panel, solar power,

Did you know that melanin, the pigment in hair, is light sensitive and can be used as a conductor? Well, that’s what an 18 year old in Nepal recently discovered, and is now using human hair to replace silicon in solar panels. Since the price of hair is considerably cheaper than silicon, this enterprising youth may have just found a breakthrough technology to help bring down the cost of solar and give thousands of people in developing nations access to affordable renewable energy.

human hair, nepal, nepalese teen, innventor, teen innventor, solar panel, solar power,

Malin Karki had already been trying to create affordable renewable energy from hydro currents for a few years, but the project had become too expensive. But then Karki, who attends school in Kathmandu, started reading a book by Stephan Hawking that discussed ways of creating static energy from hair. From this idea, Karki realized that melanin was one of the factors in energy conversion, and that it could possibly serve as a substitute conductor. He and four other classmates worked on a prototype, which they found could charge a cell phone or a pack of batteries for lighting.

The panels themselves are 15 inches square and can produce 9V or 18W of power and cost around $38 to produce. Karki thinks that if they were mass produced though, they would cost half as much. In Nepal, human hair costs about 25¢ for half a kilo and can last for several months. Hair is also basically a renewable resource and can be replenished by the owner of the solar panel as it wears out. This low cost and low tech device could be a revolutionary step in solar power bringing down the cost of the technology, bringing power to the masses and using materials which are common to everyone in the  world.

Via Dvice & Daily Mail

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  1. kedwa30 December 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Apparently a hoax, but it is actually inspiring. Perhaps hair would make inexpensive capacitors. Hoaxes are good for challenging us to use critical thinking and evaluate what we read rather than accepting everything we read. I know there are other ways to make solar cells rather than depending on silicon. For example the company NanoSolar made flexible thin film solar sheets using a semiconducting ink, a mix of copper, indium, gallium and selenium nanoparticles that, when printed, self-assemble onto the foil in a uniform layer that is one hundredth the thickness of the absorber layer in traditional cells.

  2. mitra September 1, 2014 at 11:30 am

    This article was debunked a long time ago.

  3. Tuckerfan August 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm
  4. MASOMA – Material... August 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    […] Read the rest of Nepalese Teen Invents Cheap Solar Panel Using Human Hair […]

  5. Rob Comey March 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

    If your thinking of reducing your energy bills, people should really consider solar panels. I used my solar installer dot com to get quotes for my home and the best solar companies sent me tailored info for our property…it was free and pretty quick. You can get yours here:

  6. Micah Shapiro July 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’m no expert, but I am not sure I see the cost in savings here. It says “18W of power and cost around $38 to produce.” So wouldn’t that be roughly $2 per watt? Someone tell me if I am wrong, but I swear I have seen websites selling solar panels at less than $1 per watt. If that’s the case, I don’t see where the money saving incentive is here.

  7. portrait photography st... February 17, 2011 at 4:20 am

    This “invention” is an example of magical thinking. The students seem to think that because hair can hold a static electrical charge that it somehow contains electricity that can be extracted. The students also have seen studies using purified melanin to augment dyes in solar cells, and they leap to the conclusion that hair can generate solar energy. They also make the leap that, because purified melanin has been used as an electronic switch and, in that sense, behaves like a semiconductor, that melanin in hair can replace the doped silicon in solar cells. All of these conclusions are just plain wrong. The main problem is that the aforementioned experiments used purified melanin, not human hair. Like all convincing lies, there’s just enough truth to make this sound plausible. These students made a demo cell that students across the world make all the time. They added the “hair” factor and managed to dupe a reporter who didn’t know any better. Take my word for it. It’s bunk.

  8. prakshyapan prasai January 26, 2010 at 6:59 am

    who the hell is speaking about it’s falseness. i have saw it working with my own eyes. You all are just babbling cuz u r jealous. And that davision oe edition whoever he is i swear to kill him if he cheats the idea you must really understand their economic situation and struggle just for a panel

  9. ecoranger November 25, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Wow !! sustainble innovation ….combination of good brain n hair.

  10. ecoranger November 25, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Wow !!! Sustainble inovation…combination of good brain n hair.

  11. Gopal Agrawal November 9, 2009 at 3:07 am

    the effort is wonderful, it will be better to describing how it works.

  12. taraff1 October 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    You can build your own solar panels for UNDER $100 and Solar Water Heater for about $7 with the Ambigrid Plans!

  13. solarpowernewbie September 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    That’s really weird. Where do you get all of that hair? I guess I better start raiding the local barber shops.

    Until then, there are some DIY techniques that make solar power affordable for the average homeowner. This site has some reviews of the top solar panel guides:


  14. nugz September 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Demmm that’s some thinking right there. Too bad Africans men don’t have long hair, i would have get myself 1 of those right away and sustain it with my own hair..Funny.

    That’s some cool innovation there and really commend you guys. The future depends on such ideas. Keep it up.

  15. ecopacker September 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    India is a key supplier of hair (dead and alive) to salons across the globe, an India hair weave (live hair) can cost the American woman between $2,000 to $4,000 a head based on length.
    Good Luck!

  16. September 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Holy biophilia batman!

  17. craighyatt September 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    This is a complete hoax. Hair is an insulator; see . Melanin does have some semiconductor properties as described here but it isn’t possible to use human hair as shown to generate electricity. I personally did some experiments and confirmed this.

  18. hagandazs September 9, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I smell BS…

    9V at 18 watts = 2 AMPS at 9 volts. The teenager is lying, the summary is lying, or whole thing is fake.

    2A across hair… A coathanger running 2A would probably melt, and we expect 2A across hair to be fine?

  19. Bman September 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Honestly… that is some crazy shit! To think, we very well begin harvesting hair for power.

    Wow, life sure is strange.

    What wonderful forward thinking by this young and insightful man. I hope he patents that idea before someone else profiteers (i.e. Edison).

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