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Eleven-year-old wins innovation award for solar turbine design

Eudald Vehí's device was a product of the Ideas and Inventions Museum's center

Clara Blanchar
Eudald Vehí dreamed up his invention at the Museum of Ideas.
Eudald Vehí dreamed up his invention at the Museum of Ideas.P. DURÁN

When Eudald Vehí heard his name called out as a Diamond Award winner at the British Invention Show in London last October, he said he was "petrified."

The amazing thing is that the jury of the UK's largest exhibition of innovation was unaware at the time that Vehí was only 11 years old.

"Do you know what you've just won?" he was asked by a number of people. "I didn't, but I was very happy," recalls Eudald, as he sips a chocolate drink.

It all began during the Christmas holidays of 2011, when Eudald's aunt took him and his cousin to Barcelona, where they visited Miba, the Ideas and Inventions Museum. The center offered kids a chance to think up a new invention, and Eudald came up with a windmill with solar panels attached to the sails.

The idea was one of three selected as best of the month by Miba, which took 30 inventions to the British Invention Show. Eudald's family managed to travel to London for three days to be present at the awards ceremony.

The child has now memorized a sentence in English to explain his contraption: "My invention combines two green energies, solar and wind, in a simple device: the solar turbine."

The young inventor's father, Josep, notes that messing around with tools is nothing new to Eudald. "When he was four he came up to us one night asking for a hammer because he needed to fix something or other," he laughs. "He always thought like an engineer, seeking solutions to things."

Josep, himself an engineer, jokes that he had nothing to do with Eudald's invention - ("I wasn't even there at the museum!") - and says that his son's education at a Montessori school may have aided his development.

The award included getting a prototype built and a patent filed. And an observation Eudald didn't know: when solar panels are heated they lose efficiency, a problem solved by his turbine.

Now, all Eudald needs is someone willing to build his invention.

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