This summer, Jonáš Ťoupal ’19 entered the National Geographic Chasing Genius Challenge, which asked participants to create a one-minute video describing their idea and the solution it provides to issues related to global sustainability, health or hunger. Competing for one of four winning spots and $25,000 to implement his proposal, Ťoupal has developed an idea for the “Sustainable Planet” category that would reimagine geothermal energy.
In his video, one of the proposals most liked on Facebook, Ťoupal describes a vacuum filled, enclosed pipe set in the ground. With convective metal caps on either end, the pipe would radiate energy from its bottom, where temperatures reach between 500 and 1000°C, to its top, where the heat could be converted to electricity. The mechanical simplicity of the proposal, Ťoupal says, would make it suitable for developing countries. The efficiency of his proposal’s heat transfer, and the resulting power per given area, would be greater than that of solar technology, with the added benefit of functioning both day and night.
Currently, the contest organizers are evaluating each idea on its innovation, creativity, viability and inspiration. Once finalists are selected, voting will begin Friday, Sept. 1; voters may vote once per day.
On Friday, Sept. 15, National Geographic will announce four winning ideas; a People’s Choice winner will be decided from website votes alone.
A geoscience and plenary science double-major, Ťoupal is the co-president of the HWS Engineering Club and is a member of the Hobart hockey team.