A new invention could revolutionize solar energy – and it was made by a 12-year-old in Beaverton, Oregon, United States.
Despite his age, William Yuan has already studied nuclear fusion and nanotechnology, and he is on his way to solving the energy crisis.
It all started with Legos - after he learned nanotechnology to make robots take off. The seventh grader then got an idea inspired by the sun. Encouraged by his Meadow Park Middle School science teacher, the 12-year-old developed a 3D solar cell.
"Regular solar cells are only 2D and only allow light interaction once," William said.
And his cell can absorb both visible and UV light.
In his project, “A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UVLight,” William invented a novel solar panel that enables light absorption from visible toultraviolet light. He designed carbon nanotubes to overcome the barriers of electronmovement, doubling the light-electricity conversion efficiency. William also developed amodel for solar towers and a computer program to simulate and optimize the towerparameters. His optimized design provides 500 times more light absorption thancommercially-available solar cells and nine times more than the cutting-edge, threedimensionalsolar cell.
Since 2005, William has been involved in the First Lego League (FLL), which led him toresearch renewable energy and nanotechnology. During his research and communityoutreach, William realized the importance of renewable energy for future generationsand began to focus his research on solar cells. William regularly visited Portland StateUniversity (PSU) as part of this research.William graduated from Jacob Wismer Elementary School in 2007 and enrolled in Meadow Park Middle School’s Summa program. Always ranked within the top 1 percenton state standardized tests, William has taken advanced classes in mechanicalengineering, biology, computer programming and media design outside school.William has many interests and is involved in FLL, MESA (Math, Engineering, andScience Achievement), Science Bowl, Mathcounts, American MathematicsCompetitions (AMC), Chess, Signal to Noise, Geo-Bee, and the Discovery EducationYoung Scientist Challenge. William enjoys learning about science and technologybecause he believes these areas hold the keys to the future.