12 Year Old Makes Solar Breakthrough

080915 William Yuan

When I was 12 years old, I was just learning about girls and was convinced that I was going to be a professional basketball player.

William Yuan of Beaverton, Oregon, has developed a 3D solar cell and earned a $25,000 research grant that is usually given to a graduate school student.

Yuan credits the beginning of his research to his early years playing with Lego toys. Somehow nanotechnology and nuclear fusion were not part of the Lego sets that I got as a boy.

More exciting is the direction that society could be going with technology and, more importantly, talented scientists like Yuan leading the way. According to early calculations, his 3D solar cell absorbs an extra 10 percent of the energy provided by the sun compared to a conventional 2D cell and yields nine time more energy even when it is cloudy.

Yuan’s intention is to help solar power become a more viable option for large scale power generation in the Pacific Northwest. Sounds like he’s well on his way to making a sustainable future for all of us a reality.