Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Warming Wednesdays: learn from the trees

Want innovation to help ween us off fossil fuels? Toss the problems to someone who is too young to be hemmed in by a bunch of fixed ideas!

Or so it seems from this feel-good story about a 13 year old whose solution to making solar energy collection more efficient was to observe how trees do it.
Inspired by the spiral leaf pattern he observed in the branches of an oak tree in the Catskill Mountains, 13-year-old Aiden Dwyer recently designed an award-winning solar panel arrangement that is up to 50 percent more efficient than traditional roof-top arrangements in use today.

[Dwyer explains:] "...The tree design made 20 percent more electricity and collected 2 1/2 more hours of sunlight during the day. But the most interesting results were in December, when the Sun was at its lowest point in the sky. The tree design made 50 percent more electricity, and the collection time of sunlight was up to 50 percent longer!"
Read more about it!

Thanks for Tina for the story.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of that inconvenient truth.

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