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Solar Flair

In Greek mythology, flying too high cost Icarus his life when the sun melted his waxen wings. Today, solar energy factors in another epic flight – an trans-Atlantic attempt by the world’s first solar-powered airplane. And the Internet can put any arm-chair pilot in the cockpit.

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Student Invents Solar Tree

On a hike through the Catskill Mountains in New York, seventh-grader Aidan Dwyer noticed that the branches of oak trees seemed to grow in a certain pattern. Inspired to try his hand at biomimicry, he created a tree-like arrangement of small solar panels capable of generating 20-50% more energy than traditional flat designs.

Dwyer’s solar tree is based on a mathematical concept called the Fibonacci sequence, which was discovered in the late middle ages.

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New Reactor Turns Sunlight into
Hydrogen Fuel

Every hour, the sun beams down more energy than the whole planet consumes in a year. Although solar cell technology has advanced considerably in recent years, many challenges related to reliably capturing and storing the sun’s energy still remain.

Sossina Haile, a professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at CalTech, is developing a new approach to solar power. Using cerium oxide (or ceria), a metal most commonly found in self-cleaning ovens, Haile and her research team have created a prototype reactor that has the power to transform sunbeams into clean fuel.

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Engineering Students Create Prizewinning Water Disinfection Tool

Chin Jung Cheng, Charlie Matlack, Penny Huang, and Jaqueline Linnes have designed a way to know when solar disinfected water is safe to drink

In many parts of the world, finding clean drinking water can be very difficult. Close to 1 billion people do not have access to safe water, a problem which, in addition to lack of basic sanitation, is responsible for 80% of all diseases and close to 5,000 children’s deaths every day.

To help combat this serious issue, many aid organizations advocate solar water disinfection (also known as SODIS), or the practice of leaving plastic water bottles out in the sun to kill off harmful bacteria. The only problem with SODIS is that for now its adopters must estimate the length of time a water bottle must soak up rays before it has been fully sanitized.

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Meet Cliff Ho, Solar Energy Wiz

Clifford Ho is one young engineer paving the way to sustainable energy solutions.

Ho received the 2010 Asian American Engineer of the Year Award, which honors an Asian American engineer who has made significant, lasting and global contributions to the nation. The recipient is selected by the Chinese Institute of Engineers – USA.

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