The invention of an 8-year-old girl from Chiapas, Mexico, Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz, has brought her recognition by UNAM’s Institute of Nuclear Sciences.
This little girl constructed a solar-powered device to heat water using recycled materials, intending to help low-income families. Namely, resources are scarce in Chiapas, and area residents often resort to felling trees to heat their water.
This third-grader has been competing in science fairs since the age of four, and her water heater used refuse like empty bottles, wood, and plastic, as people in poorer areas cannot afford other options on the market.
This heater is relatively simple, as it has two glass doors, outlet hoses that connect with boats, a hose that goes to the water tank and bottles.
Her invention has the potential to be a life-changing option that would improve the lives of numerous people around the world. Her prototype has been installed on the roof of her family’s home and they have been using it to heat water for the household.
The project was aimed at slowing climate change by reducing the need for low-income people in her rural community to cut down trees for firewood.
She explained that those are low-income people who don’t have the possibility to buy these heaters, so they cut the trees to get firewood, and this affects the world through climate change. Therefore, she decided to make this heater from recycled objects that don’t hurt the environment.
Not only did she impress the panel at UNAM, but she also made her parents and third-grade teacher extremely proud. Her mother, Alma Lopez Gomez, said that it was a great honor to know all that she has done.
In developing areas, heating water for cooking and sanitation is expensive and time-consuming. In areas like Bangladesh, the collection of wood for water heating is one of the greatest contributors to deforestation.
Therefore, low-cost solar alternatives are desperately needed in areas like Chiapas, and affordable solar water heaters could reduce the dependence on wood and fossil fuels to heat water.
Solar water heaters have numerous advantages, even though they can be expensive. They are low-maintenance, the fuel they use is free, sustainable, and renewable, and they save money to the tune of 50% or more off of their water heating bill.
These heaters also save significantly on carbon emissions to the amount of 220 kg of carbon dioxide per year or more. Their use also lowers the likelihood of users facing a disruption in resource availability due to power outages or gas line issues.
If they can be reliably produced from recycled materials in developing areas, they will additionally reduce pollution and waste.
Along with saving the environment, the young entrepreneur showed that women and girls can succeed in a male-dominated field. Fortunately, the number of women and girls in science is on the rise, and Cruz López proved the importance of this once more.
It looks like the future of this girl is bright, and sharp-minded children like her can improve our future as well!