An Ohio teen's proposal to use phase change material to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic panels is one of three winners in MIT's annual THINK competition. Aditya Jog, a sophomore at Mason High School near Cincinnati, will receive $2,000 to build his project, a $500 scholarship and project mentorship from MIT students.
"Photovoltaic cells have the potential to utilize the planet’s most plentiful renewable energy source, yet their widespread use has been impeded because of relatively low efficiency," he wrote in his application. "The solar to electrical conversion efficiency of photovoltaic devices suffers when they operate at elevated temperatures. Current solutions rely on active heat dissipation, increasing both capital and operating costs. This proposal offers an alternative, passive heat dissipation system that employs a solid-liquid phase change material as a temperature regulator."
The THINK Scholars Program, sponsored this year by Thomson Reuters, is run by a team of MIT undergraduate students.