Last Summer’s grant awardee Michael Rebarchik continues to work on his project on creating a cost-effective solar concentrator. Energy demands increase globally, while the fossil fuel future remains unsteady and the search for a new energy resource is more important now than ever. Solar energy remains promising, but often solar technology can be expensive.
Michael wanted to create a low-cost solar concentrator that can be used to convert solar energy into alternative sources of energy through chemical reactions. The global vision is to distribute the concentrators to low-income areas around the world to supply energy at a low-cost.
In addition to creating the concentrator, Michael and his advisor, Dr. Nick Au Yeung, wanted to use the high temperatures from the concentrator to convert organic material to biochar. Biochar is charcoal that help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, improve water quality and improve agriculture productivity when used in soil.
Michael says in appreciation for the SSI grant, The SSI Research Grant allowed me to finish a major part of this project in the construction of the solar concentrator. Now that the concentrator is constructed, I will be capable of making reliable and structured measurements. Additionally, I have been introduced to a lot of people in the biochar community dealing with both biochar generation and its possible applications. These connections were extremely helpful during the work we have done so far and will continue to be useful as the project continues to develop.
Want a chance to research and work on a sustainable project with a campus department and faculty adviser? As mentioned previously, The SSI Research Grant is changing to the Sustainability Fellowship Program. Student project fellowship applications will open up June 1st. Check it out!
Find Michael’s full report here.