This bright 13-year-old found out a way to make clean energy using a device that costs $5

Maanasa Mendu, a 13-year-old from Ohio, thinks that she has cracked the code on how to make wind and solar energy reasonable.

Mendu won the grand prize in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge on Tuesday for her work in creating a profitable “solar leaves” design to generate energy. She also gets $25,000 for her achievement along with the winner title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

Costing around $5 to make, the leaves are designed to help developing areas in need of inexpensive power sources.

Mendu and nine other finalists along with a mentor provided by 3M worked on their projects over the last three months.

During her visit to India, Mendu saw several people who did not have access to affordable clean water and electricity. That’s when she decided to come up with an affordable way to produce energy. Originally, her intent was to harness only wind energy.

Here’s what the product looked like when Mendu entered the competition:

This 13-year-old genius used a device costing $5 to make clean energy

With the help of her 3M mentor Margauz Mitera, Mendu during the course moved to a different type of energy collection. Taking motivation from how plants work, she decided to concentrate on making her “solar leaves” that harnessed vibrational energy.

Here’s how it works: her “leaves” can gather energy from precipitation, wind, and even the sun using a solar cell and piezoelectric material (the part of the leaf that takes up on the vibrations). These are then converted into usable energy.

Have a look at the finished product here:

This 13-year-old genius used a device costing $5 to make clean energy

With the competition coming to an end, Mendu now wants to develop the prototype further and carry out more tests so that one day she can make it available to the public.

Source: Business Insider