A brilliant 13-year-old girl from Ohio has probably cracked the code on how to produce wind and solar energy affordably.
Maanasa Mendu won the grand prize in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for creating cost-efficient design of solar-leaves to produce clean energy, on her way to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” on October 18, Tuesday.
She was also awarded $25,000 for her achievement, reports Business Insider.
The solar-leaves cost roughly $5 to make and are designed to help developing areas which are in need of cheap power sources.
The leaves can collect energy from precipitation, wind and even the Sun using a solar cell and piezoelectric material, a part of the leaf that picks up on vibrations. The collected energy is then transformed into a useable form, reports Business Insider.
Mendu was inspired to work on developing a cheaper way of producing clean energy following a visit to India, where she witnessed people lack access to affordable clean water and electricity.
Initially, she intended to harness only wind energy in her design. However, while working on her project in the past three months with the help of a mentor provided by 3M, she changed her design, focusing on creating one that harnessed vibrational energy.
Mendu and nine other finalists in the competition worked on their projects with the help of Marguaz Mitera, their 3M mentor.
Now that the competition is over, Mendu wants to develop the prototype further and conduct more tests so that one day it can be made available commercially.