Monday 19 February 2018

Lighting up: how Nissan claim a first with 'organic glow-in-the-dark car'

WE may at some stage in the foreseeable future drive a car that glows in the dark. It could become part and parcel of our motoring way of life. Or could it?

Nissan, for example, is claiming that turning ultra-violet energy, absorbed during daylight by special substances on a car, can light it up for 10 hours in the dark.

The company says it has worked with inventor, Hamish Scott, creator of STARPATH, which is a spray-applied coating.

We know that glowing car paint is already out there.

Indeed there are glow-in-the-dark car wraps as well. Not to mention glow-in-the dark wheel rims.

But Nissan are claiming their system is different in that the paint formula comprises entirely organic materials. It is not entirely clear just how much different that makes it.

But, apparently, it has a rare natural product called Strontium Aluminate which, they say is solid, odourless and inert.

They are saying that if they were to make it 'commercially available' now it would last for the next 25 years. That's a lot of glowing for any car.

Now that the topic has been highlighted again, people are bound to consider the benefits and cost.

The obvious benefit is visibility - the whole place would be aglow.

There is no indication as yet of cost but no one expects this sort of development to come cheap.

The other big question is: Would there be demand for it?

On a more general level, experts are saying that there is every chance the principles involved could be projected onto many other areas and uses.

Already Nissan and others are storing solar power to charge electric vehicles.

There seems to be logic in the argument that If you can absorb that amount of energy - with an organic substance in the case of the glow-in-dark car - then it must be possible to convert it into more than fluorescence.

There is no doubt there is major research, development and advances going on in that whole area.

However, there are major issues too - the cost of repairs if in an accident, for example.

Undoubtedly, it is an exciting concept/topic with potentially many implications.

But can you really see yourself driving a 'glow-in-the-dark' car?

ecunningham@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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