Dutch Designer Presents the Future of Solar Energy
Tom Spendlove posted on March 23, 2019 |

Marjan Van Aubel says that she believes in solar democracy and that any person in any place should have solar energy. Her TEDx Amsterdam talk, The beautiful future of solar power, discusses her best ideas about solar energy while showcasing some recent projects.

Van Aubel’s inspiration came from reading Solar Revolution, and the idea that the earth gets enough energy from the sun in one hour to provide for a year of our needs. Even when accounting for inefficiencies, transmission, storage and installation costs she held to this fact and used it as the drive to create more functional solar energy systems. She says that China’s entrance into the solar industry has lowered the cost of production and that efficiencies have been boosted up to 44.5 percent, but the image of solar cells is stuck in the 1970s. When most people think of solar cells they think of a flat plate mounted onto an existing surface. Finding dye-sensitized solar cells was another leap for her design inspiration, adding color to the toolbox.

The Current Table has a tabletop that acts as one large solar panel, with batteries in the legs and USB ports for charging. An app lets sensors in the table tell you the best places in a room to place the table for light exposure during the day. Most impressive to me were the Power Plants, small greenhouse units with transparent solar glass exteriors and hydroponic gardens inside. Van Aubel envisions a future where the Power Plants can be set up in remote off-grid locations or on rooftops in cities.

Marjan Van Aubel is a great speaker, inspiring both because of her completed projects and the ambition she has toward bringing more solar to the world. This is a fantastic example of artists and industrial designers working with engineers and materials to create new opportunities and a better future.


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