I recently attended the International Sustainable World Energy, Environment, and Engineering Project Olympiad in Houston. Essentially, I-SWEEEP is a science competition in its second year that allows students to present their work on sustainability. For the past five years, I have been working on BioEthanol production, so I had the opportunity to present.
I thought I would share some of the cool ideas that I saw during my time there:
1) A girl created a device that can float in water and takes advantage of solar, wind and wave-generated energy. Essentially, her machinery is three-fold. The top houses solar panels, followed by small wind turbines underneath, and finally wave-generating components at the bottom. After talking with her, I found out that she had tested the device in a wave-pool and it had worked. She is working on patents for the piece now.
2) Another student who actually won the engineering category of the competition is from China. He developed a system similar to blind-spot detection systems on cars for bicycles. The need for this system in China is unparalleled because of the extensive use of bikes.
3) Another student (one of my best friends) developed a way to make soluble, purified graphene - a flattened form of Carbon Nanotubes. Currently, purified graphene costs $1000 for the width of a human hair. This powerful material can carry an electric current and be used to make solar cells one-cell thick.
I-SWEEEP was definitely a great experience, and I encourage everyone to attend next year's event.