Brought to you by the early-morning-no-coffee department...
So last night I was thinking odd thoughts about sustainability and came up with a simple one. Europium paint based fiber-optic lighting.
What you do is take a clear Lucite rod, polish the ends of it, and mate fiber-optic lighting cable to it.
Then place the rod into a v-shaped holder (like a piece of angle-iron) that extends the length of the rod so that the “v” is pointing down and is open to the sky at the top.
Paint the inside of the “v” with blue Europium based paint. This paint is designed to glow for 12 hours or more after charged by UV radiation.
Mount said object on roof of house/vehicle/whatever and plumb the fiber-optics cable to a place close by where you want light.
During the day any sunlight is transmitted directly through the Lucite rod into the cable as well as “charging” the paint in the v-channel.
At night the paint glows and that light is transmitted down the fiber-optics cable in place of sunlight.
Ambient lighting from 12 hour paint that will likely last a fairly long time. And the only maintenance is sealing the cable as it enters the house/van/etc., cleaning the Lucite rod, or re-painting the v-channel.
Alternatively if you’re doing this with something like a thin metal roof (like a shed or car or something) you could put the rod into a square box with the top open and a slit in the bottom. Paint the inside of the walls of the box with Europium paint. Then rest the Lucite rod on the slit at the bottom and seal it there. During the day the light shines directly through and during the night the paint glows and shines through.
Once again this stuff is simple and easy to maintain. Heck it’s even fairly cheap. Europium powder that can be mixed with a non-uv clear-coat can be found here: http://www.unitednuclear.com/glow.htm I suggest blue for lighting. (There are other sources and other colors and glow times will vary. Green is the brightest but who wants to live in a Kryptonite cave?)
The Lucite rods are available almost everywhere - replacement clear towel rods come to mind.
The v-channel or box can be made from local materials.
Fiber-optic cable you might have to order online but it shouldn’t be too expensive either as you’re not carrying data only light in general in this case.
Back to my morning breakfast ...