WEB DESK: A ninth grade girl won Young Scientist Challenge by devising a prototype which can harness energy from ocean water.
The 15-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, won this year’s Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. She was awarded $25,000 and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist”
She was inspired by a 9-year-old pen pal in Ethiopia who has limited access to electricity. She said that she cannot think a single day without electricity.
Her device consists of 3D-printed propeller, connected by a pulley inside a plastic PVC pipe to a hydroelectric generator, which converts the mechanical movement of ocean currents to usable electricity.
According to Business Insider, she tested her device in the Boca Raton Intracoastal Waterway, where the current coming in from the Altantic Ocean produces a large amount of unused energy.
She used the energy to lit LED lights as a demo. She said that if she could make this large scale project, she can charge three batteries at a time in one hour, which is enough energy to power saltwater desalinization pumps to provide a source of fresh water for developing countries. It could also power blood centrifuges for medical use, or coastal beacons for ship navigation.
Source: Business Insider