Today we rely on energy-dense hydrocarbon fuels to make our world go round. But the technologies we have are inefficient: the modern combustion engine in motor vehicles has an efficiency of 20% for gasoline and 40% for diesel, while our electrical transmission and distribution systems lose 5-8% of the power they carry. Ongoing economic development and urbanisation on a global scale mean the world’s hunger for energy is set on a relentless upward path. By 2050 our annual energy consumption is forecast to reach 100TW. Fossil fuels alone cannot meet this demand.
We recognise there are better, cleaner and more efficient ways to meet our future energy needs. Nature has already given us inspiration in the form of photosynthesis, which turns sunlight efficiently into energy and storing it in organic molecules for later use. At One Earth Designs, we have developed technologies that are 92% efficient in turning sunlight into energy (heat) directly. We are also developing technologies that can store this energy in organic compounds. The adoption of these technologies can help us transition into the age of sunlight.
Our first product, SolSource, is a high-performance parabolic solar concentrator that harnesses the energy of the sun for outdoor cooking. Inspired by the problem of indoor pollution from household stoves faced by rural families in China, it is the first of a growing range of products in One Earth Designs’ mission to bring innovative and clean energy solutions to people around the world. Developed in collaboration with Himalayan families, five years and thirteen prototype generations later, SolSource is providing hundreds of rural families with cleaner air in their homes, reducing their fuel gathering time and energy costs.