Skip to comments.12 yr old revolutionizes solar cells
Posted on 09/18/2008 10:25:13 AM PDT by pollwatcher
BEAVERTON, Ore. A new invention could revolutionize solar energy and it was made by a 12-year-old in Beaverton.
Despite his age, William Yuan has already studied nuclear fusion and nanotechnology, and he is on his way to solving the energy crisis.
It all started with Legos - after he learned nanotechnology to make robots take off. The seventh grader then got an idea inspired by the sun.
"Solar it seems underused, and there are only a few problems with it," Yuan said.
Encouraged by his Meadow Park Middle School science teacher, the 12-year-old developed a 3D solar cell.
"Regular solar cells are only 2D and only allow light interaction once," he said.
And his cell can absorb both visible and UV light.
"I started to realize I was actually onto something," Yuan said.
At first, he couldn't believe his calculations.
"This solar cell can't be generating this much electricity, it can't be absorbing this much extra light," he recalled thinking.
If he is right, solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells.
"Which would make solar energy actually a viable energy source for the Pacific Northwest," Yuan said.
While college students have come up with unusual solar cars and the state of Oregon recently unveiled solar panels to power highway lights, Yuan is thinking global.
"It'll have a really positive impact on society and the environment," he said.
His next step is to get a manufacturer and market it.
Yuan is flying out to Washington D.C. on Monday to accept a $25,000 scholarship for his research. He earned the Davidson Fellow award, which is for those 18 and under.
Conservatives, in general, love new technology, so it amazes me sometimes to see people on this board downplay to research being done. Fossil fuels are the fuel of the present, but that does not mean they are the best option for the future. We should celebrate American ingenuity every time we get the chance.
So the Colorado River wasn’t the cause for the Grand Canyon, after all?
Did you and your parents fail to have that little talk when you were a kid....?
(Or perhaps you've merely forgotten the details since then.)
Yes, but he’s Asian so that cancels out the efforts of the government schools. If he hadn’t gone to government schools he probably would have delivered this idea at age 9. Kudos to his parents.
Unless it cranks up the power of the sun.... :-)
So, either current 2-D technology is only .002% effcient, *and* the new 3-D tech is perfectly efficient (not likely), or the journalist doesn't understand much more than reading the back of cereal boxes.
I'd believe a 500% increase in efficiency. Current solar power is pretty darn inefficient. Not 500 times, though....
And for interest's sake....The power delivered by the sun to the earth is roughly a constant. If all of the sun's energy could be completely captured and converted, (roughly) 1 ft^2 of area would power a 100W light bulb.
This young man got involved in FIRST LEGO LEAGUE in 2007.
My son has also been involved in this program. IT IS GREAT. It’s main sponsor in Dean Kaman who invented the Segway among other less famous things.
I would highly recommend FLL to anyone to get their child involved in. It starts in 3rd grade with junior lego league. Eventually it leads to ROBOTICS in high school.
I think the article is simply typical sloppy journalism. I can accept the possibility the kid has a useful invention.
I doubt it. The global warming wackos would hate him. In one fell swoop, he'd shut them up and remove their means to power.
They NEED carbon to gain power with their doomsday message.
Journalists (liberals) really, really, really, want alternative fuels to work. I think that it tends to cloud their (limited) reasoning.
I'd love for us to be able to harness the sun's energy...there's just not enough of energy delivered to a small enough space, to be practically usable on a large scale basis. About the best idea that I've heard use solar collectors to generate heat to run a small-scale power plant. Problem is that it couldn't run 24/7, and that the solar collectors took up 10s or 100s of acres of space.
If I had to place any bets on any alternative fuels, I'd put my money on wave-related power. It's constant, delivers far more energy per ft^2, and the only challenges to surmount are weather-related.
Spiderman??????? Heck no, it was find out how Mantle and Maris did. Then grab the glove and bat and head to the field on my 3 speed bicycle.
Well done, son. Now let’s regulate it and tax it. It’s the patriotic thing to do. My name is B Hussein Obama and I approve of this message.
You gotta love the understatement only a child could make.
Not really... His also converts UV light so it would have to be taken into account. I don’t know if the other does but the article seems to make a point of this. Also it multi-processes the light.
My sources imply that efficiency is based on conversion on all light energy. If you have some source that disputes this I’d like to see it.
[If its all true, a child has figured out the obvious!]
If it’s true, the kid has invented a perpetual motion machine. The collector multiples mentioned in this article would have the collector gathering more energy than the incident light.
I was 12 in 1954. The highlight of our school year was when one of my friends found a sex manual in a box of books stored in an old house. Wow. We thought we had died and gone to Heaven! It was making the rounds of our seventh grade classroom one day when the teacher sneaked up behind the person who was reading it and asked what it was! The poor girl panicked and through out the open window of the second floor. It landed among a group of students on lunch break and the teacher made me go down and retrieve it from the guys on the ground. When I handed it to her she asked who had brought it to school. I had, and my ‘friends’ almost broke their arms pointing to me and yelling “HE DID!”
She put it in her desk drawer and told me we would discuss it after school. What a horrible rest of the day I had. Every time she left the class I just knew she was calling my parents.
I went up to her after school, ready to die. She looked at me rather sternly and said, “You need to keep this sort of book at home, it has no place in school,” and handed it back to me. As far as I know she never told my parents.
God bless Louise G. Reynolds. I hope she lived a long, prosperous life!
nope. I really don’t know much about the dynamics of solar cells. Was commenting on the article’s purposeful use of pointing to UV light in addition to visible light. If all 3d cells convert UV light also then the statement makes no sense as you’ve stated.
for the renewable energy ping list
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