Budding scientists seek to replace fossil fuel dependence with fuel cells
When we discuss the issue of renewable energy, the people behind innovative technologies are usually seasoned researchers and scientists. So, it comes as a breath of fresh air that a duo of siblings has taken it upon themselves to fix what they perceive is wrong with the world: reliance on fossil fuels. Dheevesh Arulmani, aged 16, and his 14-year-old sister, Sruti, are budding scientists in the making with their work on fuel cells. They’re now competing at this week’s Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburg that has attracted teams from 65 countries.
Dheevesh has already been on the team twice before so he’s well versed in the requirements of the competition. A student of Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, the Grade 11 pupil has won many awards, amassing him a decent $30,000 in scholarships. The budding scientist is eager to attend either MIT or Stanford and wants to set up his own business in the near future. Sruti, meanwhile, is a student at Glenforest Secondary School and is a Grade 9 pupil. While Dheevesh works in a lab at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, his sister involves herself in projects at the University of Ontario’s microbiology lab.
It isn’t all work for the burgeoning scientists, however; Dheevesh is an avid tennis and archery fan while Sruti loves to paint, read and write.
For the Intel fair, Dheevesh has used a light to increase the efficiency of a methanol-based fuel cell. Sruti, on the other hand, uses a biological fuel cell which uses chemical energy to produce electrical energy. It’s a known fact that biological fuel cells are rather inefficient but she has overcome this by adding two microbes. According to Sruti, her method can provide low levels of energy for a prolonged period in inaccessible regions.