- Created on Sunday, 21 August 2011 16:17
- Written by Celia Evans
- Category: People
I keep saying that the next generation is ahead of their time. I'm pinning my hopes on them to undo some of the multitudes of environmental mistakes of the boomers.
Anyway, Aidan Dwyer a pre-teen from Long Island has devised a more efficient way to collect solar energy, using the Fibonacci sequence. He just got a provisional U.S. patent and interest from people and corporations apparently eager to explore commercializing his innovation.
The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical pattern starting with the numbers 0 and 1; each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…. These numbers, when put in ratios, happens to show up in the patterns of branches and leaves on trees. Aidan, having been mesmerized by tree-branch patterns during a winter hike in the Catskills, sought to investigate why. His hunch: “I knew that branches and leaves collected sunlight for photosynthesis, so my next experiments investigated if the Fibonacci pattern helped.” So Aidan built a tree-like stand affixed with small solar panels in the Fibonacci pattern. He compared his device's ability to collect sunlight up against the flat-panel collector that is currently in wide use today. His proved to be better, much better. It's more efficient and collects more energy.
Summing up his research and imagining the possibilities, Aidan wrote: “The tree design takes up less room than flat-panel arrays and works in spots that don’t have a full southern view. It collects more sunlight in winter. Shade and bad weather like snow don’t hurt it because the panels are not flat. It even looks nicer because it looks like a tree. A design like this may work better in urban areas where space and direct sunlight can be hard to find.”
See what happens when you turn off the video games and send these kids outside.