Wait, Don’t Throw Out That Street Light Pole!

“Embergy”? It’s a newfangled term, not found in any dictionary, that mashes together “embodied” and “energy,” and apparently is synonymous with life cycle energy. We mention it because the maker of Parasite, a gallium arsenide-based (GaAs) high-efficiency, triple junction photovoltaic cell concept using nanotech-wafer based construction, says, in explaining his concept, “In a world of energetic waste, something radical must be invented to lower total embergy.”

The concept, found on Behance, looks specifically at urban lighting, and the process of turning conventional street lighting into solar-powered lighting — an evolution that would involve the discard of a lot of material that required considerable energy to create.

parasite, solar street lighting

image via Mark Beccaloni/Behance

Parasite is offered as a solution because it uses third-level integration photovoltaics (PV) to attach to existing light standards. Also called an urban lamp bypasser, Parasite (which sounds like something Sigourney Weaver might be interested in!) is named for its ability to take over its silicon-based host and deactivate it. Comprising PV cells fabbed by Spectrolab after being returned to earth – and even working at 1 atmosphere (14.695 pounds per square inch, or about the pressure at sea level on earth) with “extreme efficiency” – the cells in the Parasite concept become even more efficient with a Fresnel lens (up to 1,000 suns intensity) if correctly cooled. (A Fresnel lens at a magnification of 10 will instantly ignite a piece of board; at 400 sunpower, the equivalent of a Pyron generator, a lens is considered “very hot”).

London-based Industrial Designer Mark Beccaloni estimates 260-watt peak performance under normal conditions with less than a square meter of surface space blanketed in these cells. In addition, Parasite makes it possible to tilt the light from 0 to 30 degrees (oblique) in order to capture all the energy of the sun as it moves across the sky. Finally, Parasite can be easily attached to all manner of light standards or scaffolding, eliminating the need to replace them.