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13-year-old boy earns Young Naturalist Award for solar array design

on Monday,August 22,2011 18:08

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A young teen came up with a new sustainable energy design idea after hiking the New York Catskill Mountains. Aidan Dwyer researched patterns of trees and came up with a tree-shaped solar array, according to the Washington Post.

The 13-year-old Dwyer noticed that the branches on trees matched up with the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical pattern found in nature. He believed that pattern helped trees during photosynthesis, and he built a miniature tree-shaped solar array. His design earned him this year's Young Naturalist Award, which is given by the American Museum of Natural History, the media outlet reports.

"The individual solar panels' various angles help the array capture light even when the sun is very low in the sky," Dwyer wrote in his seventh grade essay, according to the news source. "And, since they don't lie flat, many of the panels are also less affected by shade and snow."

According to DesignTaxi, his design created more than two and a half hours of sunlight, and 20 percent more electricity.

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