Noah Hayne and Wilbur Velarde, two seniors at George Mason High School, were recognized last week by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics National Capital Section for their second place recognition in this year’s Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
Hayne and Velarde’s project “Solar Funnels,” was the result of their motivation to get more power from a solar cell without increasing the collection surface area of the cell itself.
“At first they used a magnifying lens to concentrate solar energy onto a small solar cell, but quickly realized that they would need a larger aperture, which would mean a large, expensive lens. Serendipitously, they found that a paper tube in front of the lens increased the output of the solar cell,” said a newsletter released last week by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics National Capital Section.
“From this idea, they developed an impressive geometric analysis to define an experiment that determined the optimum angle for a reflective solar concentrator around a solar cell. Noah and Wilbur were deliberate and methodical in their approach. In their presentation, they were articulate and balanced well off one another in presenting their work.”