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Renewable Energy: 13-Year-Old Teen Makes Clean Energy Using $5 Device

Nov 08, 2016 10:51 AM EST

Mendu, a 13-year-old from Ohio, has finally cracked the code on making wind and solar energy affordable to all. She was awarded the grand prize in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her stupendous achievement in building extremely cheap "solar leaves" to create energy. She also took home $25,000 besides bagging the title of "America's Top Young Scientist." The leaves, created for places in dire need of cost-effective power sources, cost just $5. Mendu was working with nine other finalists on the project over the last three months along with a mentor from 3M, Margauz Mitera.

Her inspiration to build an economic technique to produce energy has its roots in India, where she found that many people did not have access to clean water and electricity. Her sole focus, in the beginning, was purely wind energy, but later when she started working with the guidance of her mentor, she shifted her focus. In this case, she was inspired by the way on how plants function and her attention was now on creating solar leaves that leveraged on vibrational energy.

The leaves produced by Mendu can absorb energy from sunlight, wind and precipitation with the help of a piezoelectric material and a solar cell, which are then transformed into energy in a usable state. The talented teen now plans to develop this prototype and conduct additional tests so that it becomes commercially available one day. Cheap energy sources are kind of Holy Grail, and achieving this needs the expertise of people like Mendu. The world now needs a major breakthrough in the creation of cheap energy sources so that even the poor and meek gets it at the right price. This latest invention backs the New Energy Outlook 2016 study that states wind and solar power will be the cheapest by 2040.

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