Breakthrough in Solar Panel Technology from a 12 Year Old?


It looks as though today's 12-year-olds are well past the days of building model volcanoes for the school science fair. And if not, well, William Yuan just put the smackdown on the competition

Yuan, a seventh grader from Oregon, set out to improve solar technology , which at the moment could be a lot more efficient. And he appears to have done just that. Yuan's project , which he calls "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light," could shake up the energy industry and lead to real change into how solar energy is harnessed and distributed.

For his project, Yuan used a special solar cell capable of harnessing both visible and ultraviolet light, whereas most solar cells use either photovoltaic (only visible light), or thermal. Ultraviolet light holds interest because it can potentially provide more energy than the longer-wavelength members of the electromagnetic spectrum. And if that weren't enough, Yuan designed his project so it could stand freely in three dimensions to collect more light, and to make use of carbon nanotubes to distribute the energy more efficiently than traditional cells.

For his efforts, Yuan received a well deserved $25,000 scholarship, a fellowship at the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, and a various other awards.

What was your science project?

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