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इंडियन आवाज़     27 Nov 2022 08:11:56      انڈین آواز

Boy from Patna wins international Children’s Climate Prize 2022

 I think my idea is revolutionary says Sparsh

By Dilip Guha 

Sparsh, a  teenager from Patna has been declared the winner of the Children’s Climate Prize 2022. Sparsh, 17, who only goes with his first name, was selected among hundreds of nominations from all over the world and five finalists for his innovation, Thermal Floater, which converts thermal energy from the sun into electrical energy.

The Children’s Climate Prize is an international prize annually awarded to children aged 12-17, who have made extraordinary efforts for the climate and environment. The award has been instituted by the Children’s Climate Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden. It is founded by Telge Energi for young innovators and pioneers in the area of climate and the environment. 

“I may be biased, but I think my idea is revolutionary,” said a smiling Sparsh, who hails from Patna, as he received news of the award for an invention that is highly relevant in a world where the need for green energy is huge.This year’s entrepreneurial five finalists hail from the US, India and Pakistan. Besides Sparsh, Akhila Ram, Samyak Shrimali, Jacqueline Prawira, from the USA and Eiman Jawwad, from Lahore, Pakistan, made it to the finals.

The award ceremony will be held in the prestigious Stockholm City Hall in Sweden on 22 November and Sparsh will receive a diploma, medal, and prize money of SEK 100,000 to develop his project further.

Now enrolled in the National University of Singapore for computer engineering, Sparsh spoke to Dilip Guha about his invention.

Excerpts:

You are advocating for climate change but why do most people not take climate change seriously? 

The answer to this question is complex, but there are a few key factors that play a role. It can be difficult for people to wrap their heads around the scale of climate change and its potential impacts. It can be hard to believe that something so significant could be happening right under our noses, especially when the changes are gradual and not always immediately noticeable. One reason is that many people do not believe climate change is real or caused by human activity. Another reason is that even if people believe that climate change is real, they may not think it is a serious problem or something that needs to be addressed urgently.

What inspired you to develop The Thermal Floater?

No one usually realizes the true scale of things until it hits you personally, and that’s what happened to me. My hometown in Patna, Bihar, had frequent blackouts due to the coal crisis during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and during the summer, it got worse. So, one day, I started to wonder why, when we have so many methods of renewable energy generation, none provided us with a regular supply of electricity. So I did what every confused kid does ~ go to google and search. That’s when I discovered that renewable energy generation is costly and takes a lot of space, which is difficult to spare in highly populated areas. I searched for efficient alternatives, but I couldn’t find any which were cheap, efficient, and compact. So I decided to come up with a solution to this problem on my own.

It was really challenging to devise a solution, but it was fun at the same time. Having no prior knowledge of thermodynamics and material science, I had to learn the concepts on my own. I also had to learn how to 3D model, design and develop the business side of things. Even after creating the first few versions, they weren’t as efficient as I expected. So iterating it over and consulting with mentors from different parts of India helped me improve it. All this and more had to be done while still managing my school academics proved difficult.

What are you studying now?

I studied at Radiant International School, Patna, Bihar, and was in grade 12 when I entered the competition but I am now enrolled at the National University of Singapore studying Computer Engineering.

Tell us about your project and its usefulness?

My project, The Thermal Floater, is a device that efficiently converts thermal energy from the sun into electrical energy using a complex system to generate electricity up to 10 kWh per day while still keeping a small form factor. It has a modular design and can easily be connected with similar modules to create an array for supplying power to utility and off-grid facilities. It generates electricity by using the temperature difference created by the Sun’s heat and the water it floats on.

How  do you feel about receiving the award? 

I was so delighted that I didn’t know what to feel. It made me even happier that I could represent my idea and spread awareness about significant societal issues and their innovative solutions at the international level, allowing me to improve my prototype further based on the suggestions and opinions I receive. It feels terrific because I can help solve the problems I previously saw, help improve people’s quality of life and change the world for the better.

What is the importance of this Children’s Climate Prize to you?

It is really important to me since I come from a low-income background and such prizes give me an incentive. This prize money will go towards developing the real prototype models and gathering the equipment to test it at an accurate level. I got in touch with a few companies to develop the prototype and found that developing the prototypes individually out of metal costs a lot. Since a few prototypes would be needed, this money will go entirely towards it and filing a patent.

What is your ambition in life?

My future career is to be an entrepreneur with a successful startup, where I am providing services in the field of renewable energy and developing and researching newer technologies in the same field. I want to own a successful startup that has partnerships with the government and private companies to provide clean energy and has made a significant contribution to the clean energy sector through its innovations and services.

Further down the road, I want to bring my product to the market. I have the digital prototype and a proof of concept but bringing it into real life is essential to test out the loads it can handle under stress and the manufacturing capabilities of the components.

After testing out the actual prototypes and making them easy to manufacture, I plan to get in contact and partner with the government, private organizations and renewable energy companies, who can help decrease the non-renewable energy usage in the world and reach out to a vast market to make an actual impact.

Who is the inspiration in your life?

My biggest inspiration and role model is Sir James Dyson. His story inspires me a lot because even though he encountered a lot of failures and got discouraged by the professionals in the business, he managed to succeed anyways.

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