See previous scholarship winners and their sustainability ideas

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1st place winner - Transportation:

Architecture & Design     Product compliments

STUDENT: Hemiha Vasanthakumaran, Franklin High School
City: Elk Grove
County: Sacramento
Project name: Clean Energy Transportation

Ilaria Marelli
Country: Italy

Hemiha Vasanthakumaran  

Ilaria Marelli

   Technical drawing by Hemiha Vasanthakumaran

Summary: Conversion of roadways into ready-available photovoltaic power sources.

Primary materials: photovoltaic strips incorporated/embedded into roadways

Abridged student comment: More car companies are inventing and producing electric cars, so it is time for new ideas, such as converting pavements and roads to produce electricity from solar energy by adding micro pieces of photovoltaic panels. This electricity can be stored near roadways to use at times when there is no sun. Transportation departments can charge drivers a nominal fee for the mileage they drive. It is a win-win situation for the drivers and the states.
The principal component is the photovoltaic strips, similar to solar panels, embedded in concrete pavements. Electric vehicles would have a contact to the road surface, like that which electric trains have with power rails, in order to transmit electricity from the road surface to the vehicle.


A contemporary avenue with trees by Ilaria Marelli, inspired by Hemiha Vasanthakumaran's "Clean Energy Transportation" project.


About a contemporary avenue with trees: The theme proposed by Hemiha of using motorways as a possible source of energy is interesting... from her proposal of capturing energy from the road surface, I have metamorphosed the idea into a tree-lined avenue with technological trees and hedges that can absorb and store energy so that it can be used for street lighting and for recharging electric vehicles. Utilizing road surfaces for the capture and storage of energy, although fascinating, undoubtedly creates maintenance problems due to asphalt abrasion from passing vehicles and weather conditions. Moreover, I think that modern motorways are designed mainly as functional elements within the landscape for transporting people from one place to another in the most direct way possible, thus losing the poetic aspect of travelling, which is also a factor of sustainability.

In my interpretation, I have therefore tried to recreate in a contemporary manner the magic of a drive along tree-lined avenues, with a better symbiosis between an artificial environment and the surrounding natural one.

About "California Dream Week" initiative: In order for the theme of sustainability to take root, some desirable scenarios are needed that are made up of ideas and poetry that arouse enthusiasm and fascination, rather than alarming hypotheses and prospects of deprivation...
It seems to me, therefore, an optimum initiative to invest in the creativity of young professionals, to visualize and render desirable proposals for sustainability that are accessible and achievable.

A note to the student: Excellent intuition - non-places such as motorways can definitely be made more useful and more poetic.

Name: Ilaria Marelli
Country: Italy

Ilaria Marelli, architect and designer, opens ilaria marelli studio creative lab in 2004, providing services and projects in product design, architecture, and exhibit design. Ilaria Marelli collaborates with International design companies and brands such as Cappellini, Cassina, Zanotta, Fiam, Coro, Bonaldo, Axil, E&Y, Coin, Invicta, Lancia and Tivoli Audio designing products and collections, and develops exhibit design for the world of fashion and design, plus showrooms and residential interiors. She teaches Industrial Design at the Politecnico di Milano where she also collaborates on projects of applied research.

Name: Hemiha Vasanthakumaran
Grade: Senior
School: Franklin High School
City, County: Elk Grove, Sacramento

Hemiha is a senior at Franklin High School in Elk Grove, CA where she is in the absolute top percentile of her class. Hemiha intends on pursuing a career in electrical engineering. She is currently a member of the School of Technology, Engineering, and Media (STEM) Program, Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) club and National Honor Society (NHS). She volunteers at skilled nursing homes and tutors elementary and middle school students for Math, Science, and English. She has also competed at a MESA day speech competition on the subject of "Alternative Fuel and Energy Technology".

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