School lands $100,000 prize with bright thinking

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Tang Yingxi (centre), the brains behind the solar PV panels, with his team mate Jiang Huanlin and teacher Peng Minjie after the Zayed Sustainability Prize awards ceremony. JAN YUMUL / CHINA DAILY
Tang Yingxi (centre), the brains behind the solar PV panels, with his team mate Jiang Huanlin and teacher Peng Minjie after the Zayed Sustainability Prize awards ceremony. JAN YUMUL / CHINA DAILY

Published: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 11:54 AM

A school in China won high recognition in the Zayed Sustainability Prize awards ceremony held on December 1 at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai. Beijing No 35 High School’s students Tang Yingxi, 17, and Jiang Huanlin, 18, along with their teacher Peng Minjie, won the Global High School awards in the East Asia and Paci˛ic categories for their vacuum glass solar, or photovoltaic panels. The panels can insulate heat and sound, and generate electricity simultaneously. They can also be applied to electric cars to generate power in emergencies, according to a video made available by the Zayed Sustainability Prize. Tang told China Daily the prize money of $100,000 will be used to replace some of the window panes at the school as a test run to get test data one year later. The data will be used “to improve our products and make them bigger”, he said.

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Jiang said his role was mainly to construct the new glass for data collection and observation. Peng said the award could not have come at a better time because this year the school has been celebrating the centenary of its founding.

“At first we thought we would not win because I had heard what previous winners had said about their products that had benefitted so many people. And ours would benefit just 1,000 (in our school).”

She said she thinks one possible reason for Tang’s and Jiang’s success lies in the importance of designing new materials for the school. Visiting the UAE for the first time, Peng and her students met the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who presented the awards to the 11 winners covering six categories at a ceremony attended by high-level guests. Other winners included Kelp Blue of Namibia in the climate change category. Its creation has contributed to the restoration of the natural ocean by cultivating seaweed in deep waters.

In the health section, Indonesia’s doctorSHARE, a nonprofit group dedicated to expanding healthcare access in remote regions, received the award for creating floating hospitals.

In the energy category the winner was Ignite Power of Rwanda, specialising in delivering solar-powered pay-as-you-go solutions to electrify communities.

In the water group, Eau et Vie, a nonprofit group in France, won honours by offering individual taps of clean water to poor urban residents.

The Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform in Palestine won in the food category for its contributions to supporting Gaza’s agricultural sector. Apart from China, other recipients of the Global High School Awards were the Colegio De Alto Rendimiento De La Libertad in Peru, representing the Americas; Gwani Ibrahim Dan Hajja Academy in Nigeria, representing sub - Saharan Africa; and International School Morocco representing the Middle East/North Africa. The Northfleet Technology College of the United Kingdom, repres enting Europe and Central Asia, and the KORT Education Complex of Pakistan, representing South Asia, were also recognised for their efforts. The Zayed Sustainability Prize aims to perpetuate the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, by honouring and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, nonprofit organisations and secondary schools that offer sustainable solutions to tackle challenges in health, food, energy, water and climate.

For more than 15 years the prize has improved the lives of 384 million people worldwide through the innovative solutions presented by its 106 winners.

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