The scope of the project was in the area of renewable energy, particularly alternative fuels. William worked with Prof. Avner Rothschild from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – who is an MIT alumni and currently holds the world record for the highest efficiency in solar-powered hydrolysis.
Prof. Rothschild team is researching ways to cheaply and efficiently split water so that the hydrogen gas can be stored and used as fuel source. In the arena of energy sources, there is constant competition between batteries (lithium based) and fuels (fossil, and alternatively, hydrogen). In this arena, lithium batteries are usually much more popular due to recent advances, but hydrogen sources are theoretically much more energy dense. However, the main problem for both is competing with the well-established fossil fuels who have the edge of established infrastructure. In order to compete, both lithium batteries and hydrogen fuels much be significantly cheaper so that the overhead of establishing a new infrastructure can be neglible in comparison to the benefits of these alternative energy sources. However, due to its volatile nature, storing hydrogen makes the infrastructure overhead significantly more expensive when compared to lithium batteries. This is the main challenge for hydrogen fuels in general.
For this summer William would build an efficient boost converter that would take a 500mV input signal from a photovoltaic cell and output 1V-1.5V that can be used to assist water splitting for hydrogen fuel storage.
Working in Technion provided William with a unique cultural perspective to interdisciplinary research, since the entrepreneurial spirit of Israel was a dominant feature of their work. Besides being able to explore a great number of natural and ancient wonders, being in Israel allowed William to explore a vast number of cultures and religions unfamiliar to him. As William has said, “my memory of my time in Israel is one that I will remember for the rest of my life.”