What if those old carrots you never got around to eating could be a renewable energy source, rather than something messy you had to clean out of your refrigerator bin? That’s the basic idea — though on a much smaller scale — behind Carvey Maigue’s new AuREUS system.

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Maigue, a 27-year-old engineering student at Mapúa University in the Philippines, just won the James Dyson Award sustainability prize for his invention. “AuREUS is actually a material, or a technology, that allows other devices to harvest ultraviolet light and convert it into electricity,” Maigue explained in an interview on the James Dyson Award website. The green material looks like plastic and can be shaped into different forms.

Related: Bioplastic made from fish scales wins international James Dyson Award

“Organic luminescent compounds are derived from fruit and vegetables,” Maigue said in a video about his project. “These compounds turn high energy ultraviolet rays into visible light. I use solar panels and solar films to convert this light into electricity.”

AuREUS can be integrated into many different parts of everyday life, such as clothes, cars and houses. One striking use could be attaching the material to skyscrapers. “We can use AuREUS instead of typical glass windows, so that whole buildings can become vertical solar energy farms.”

The James Dyson Award is a prestigious international design award open to current and recent design engineering students. This year, the James Dyson Foundation received a record-breaking 1,800 entries. This year’s top winner was Judit Giró Benet for Blue Box, a home test for breast cancer. Benet is from Spain and studies at the University of California, Irvine. Maigue and Benet will each receive $40,000 in prize money.

“It will be great to be able to buy some equipment that can be used to further the manufacturing process,” Maigue said. “Added to that, the money will mean I can finish my time at university!”

+ James Dyson Award

Via The Guardian

Image via Mac321