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A 14-year-old class 9th student from Tamil Nadu has won the prestigious Children's Climate Prize for designing a mobile ironing cart that uses solar panels to power a steam iron box instead of using conventional charcoal.
Vinisha Umashankar would receive the prize amount of ₹8.64 lakh and medal from the Sweden-based Children's Climate Foundation at a digital event held by Isabella Lövin, Swedish Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister. One of the world's largest international climate awards for young innovators, this is the fifth edition of the Children's Climate Prize.
Vinisha told The New Indian Express that she observed a man on the street where she stays owning an ironing cart, and the man uses charcoal to heat the heavy cast-iron box that is used for ironing.
After ironing, the burnt charcoal is spread on the ground to cool and later thrown away along with garbage. She observed that the burnt charcoal after being used is thrown away along with garbage. This made her curious about a possible alternative. She found that using solar power can effectively substitute the use of charcoal to heat an iron box through the cart that she has innovated.
Her main aim behind the innovation was to make use of renewable energy. The simple design of the iron cart addresses the problem of air and water pollution. It is estimated that there may be 10 million ironing carts in India and each burn about over 5 kg of charcoal every day. That's about 5 crore kg of charcoal burnt every day. Just imagine the resulting tree loss.
Vinisha explained that designing a mobile ironing cart with solar panels as its roof, which is connected to a 100 Ah battery.
The solar panels produce 250 watts of power per hour. It takes five hours of bright sunshine to charge the battery fully, and it will power the steam iron box for six hours. Additionally, the cart can be fitted with a coin-operated GSM PCO, USB charging points, and could be used for mobile recharging.
It took her about two months to come up with the design. The engineers at National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in Gujarat built the prototype and applied for a patent, which should be granted possibly by this year-end. She has won the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award 2019 for innovation.
Adding another to her list of accolades, she has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister of India's Rashtriya Bal Shakti Puraskar 2021 which is also considered the highest civilian award in India for students under the age of 18.
Vinisha shares that her reading habits help her to give shape to her innovative ideas.
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