Singapore scientists seek power from darkness through shadow energy

Dr. Swee Ching Tan tests the shadow effect generator device in his lab. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 July 2020

Singapore scientists seek power from darkness through shadow energy

  • The shadow-effect energy generator (SEG) is being developed by the National University of Singapore

SINGAPORE: Scientists in Singapore are hoping to perfect a new method of power generation driven largely by shadows that might one day help cities to power themselves.

The shadow-effect energy generator (SEG) has the potential to harness power as solar panels do but without needing open spaces with uninterrupted light.

To work effectively, the SEG being developed by the National University of Singapore requires both light and dark and, like solar panels, relies on light to shine on silicon to energise electrons.

But using panels that feature a thin layer of either gold, silver, platinum or tungsten, the difference in light intensity drives electrons from lit areas toward the shade, creating electricity in the shaded areas.

“Our shadow effect generator comes in handy. It can be placed in those areas to harvest obstructed light,” said research team leader Dr. Swee Ching Tan.

The research is still in its early stages yet Tan’s team is already thinking about the potential of establishing a company to make SEG available for home use.

The panels the team have been testing are about 6 sq cm in size and capable of producing just 0.25 volts, meaning about 20 are needed to power a light bulb.

The ideal environment for use would be cities, Tan said, with constantly shifting levels of light and shade throughout the day from clusters of tall buildings and the sun’s changing position in the sky.

“It’s not practical to place solar cells in such cities. So the device might come in handy in places like very densely populated cities, where skyscrapers are everywhere, where shadows are always persistent.”  


Ant Group to raise up to $34.4bn in world’s biggest IPO

Updated 26 October 2020

Ant Group to raise up to $34.4bn in world’s biggest IPO

  • The deal would value Ant at more than $313 billion before a so-called greenshoe option for a 15 percent overallotment of shares

HONG KONG: Chinese financial technology giant Ant Group has set terms for a dual listing aimed at raising up to $34.4 billion from the world’s largest stock market debut, with investors scrambling for a piece of the fast-growing company.

The deal would value Ant at more than $313 billion before a so-called greenshoe option for a 15 percent overallotment of shares. At that valuation, Ant is worth more than Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s biggest bank by assets.

The looming market debut, however, is clouded by concerns over growing regulatory scrutiny of Ant’s lucrative consumer credit business as well as a US State Department proposal to add the fintech group to a trade blacklist.

Global investors, however, have largely shrugged off those concerns as they bet on continued rapid growth of a group that also operates China’s biggest mobile payments platform and distributes wealth management and insurance products.

Alibaba interest

It has earmarked 80 percent of its domestic offering to 29 strategic investors that will be locked up for at least one year and will also include a wholly owned unit of technology giant Alibaba and China’s National Council for Social Security Fund.

While the Alibaba unit has agreed to purchase 44 percent of the Shanghai float, large Chinese insurers and mutual funds will also have shares allocated via the strategic investor route, Monday’s filing showed.

Referring to Ant’s float as a “miracle,” the billionaire founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, on Saturday told a conference in Shanghai that it is the first time the pricing for such a big listing has been determined outside New York.

Headquartered in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, Ant is aiming to raise about $17.2 billion in Shanghai and roughly the same in Hong Kong, Ant said in filings to the two exchanges late on Monday.