‘Power Up’ summer camp builds world’s first solar/thermal generator

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest University researchers and students at Hanes Magnet School are the first to build and install the world’s first solar/thermal generator called a HySterE panel.

Dr. David Carroll, Wake Forest Physics Professor and Director of the Center for Nanotechnology, said the camp has many purposes.

“What we are trying to do is teach kids about solar power and the technology behind it and the hope is that these panels will be able to solve the need for places that have a need for compact energy sources like in the Bahamas,” said Carroll.

Called “Power Up,” the summer camp at Hanes is the first of its kind for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in Forsyth County.

Carroll said the HySterE panel is made of clear tubes filled with a nano-engineered fluid that captures the sun’s heat. On the back of the tubes photovoltaic silicon gathers the light.

“In doing so it’s able to produce far more power for far smaller a cell,” said Carroll.

The students are building and testing the first ones ever made.

Rising eighth grader Aurora Brande said the camp is interesting and definitely sparked her interest in a future career as an engineer.

“We’ve learned about circuit series and parallel, how voltage and amps work, how to calculate efficiency in solar panels and more. I definitely think it’s interesting,” said Brande.

Wrapped up in the project’s coolness, teachers say the students are actually being “energized” to learn math and science skills they will carry for life.

Hanes Magnet School was recently named the nation’s best magnet school by Magnet Schools of America in part because of innovative programs like this camp.


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