photo: Ricardo Wang
I don't really have much on this one yet from the technological side so perhaps the save the world part is premature, but William Yuan, a 12-year old boy from Beaverton, Oregon, has developed a new 3D solar cell which if it ever gets commercialized could seriously change the face of solar power. Though he was encouraged in his research from his middle school science teacher, this is no mere school science experiment: the Davidson Institute has awarded Yuan a $25,000 scholarship for his research. This is the best description of his work I could find:
3D Nanotube Solar Cell For Visible & UV Light
From his Davidson Institute Award submission,
In his project "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light," William invented a novel solar panel that enables light absorption from visible to ultraviolet light. He designed carbon nanotubes to overcome the barriers of electron movement, doubling the light-electricity conversion efficiency. William also developed a model for solar towers and a computer program to simulate and optimize the tower parameters. His optimized design provides 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than the cutting-edge, three dimensional solar cell.
Yuan is currently looking for a manufacturer for his new solar cell.
There's a KATU TV news report on William Yuan is you want a bit more background information, including how Legos inspired him.
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