Saturday, August 20, 2011

Smart kid builds efficient solar panals

I read this article at about a 13-year-old boy who designed new, super-efficient way to organize solar panels.

Aiden Dwyer was walking in the forest in the winter time and noticed a pattern in the tree branches. After studying them for a while, he realized that they grew in a spirals. He found that they were organized in the Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,etc.).

This is the picture he drew.
He realized this has probably something to do with photosynthesis and how efficient the tree was, and so he built a model tree and placed little solar panels on the branches in accordance to the pattern he saw in nature. He then compared the output of his tree model to the traditional set up of the solar panels.

Here is his model next to the traditional version
It turns out that his tree model outperformed the traditional model by 50% in the winter solstice days. This design won Aiden the 2011 Young Naturalist Award. He has applied for a patent and is continuing on perfecting his model by studying other tree species.

You can read his essay that he wrote here. Pretty cool for a 13-year-old to figure out!

1 comment:

Anna said...

That is totally cool.