Tai-Wen Ko, M.S.
Education: Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering (May 2011)
Master of Science in electrical engineering from Kansas State University
McNair Project: Investigating Small Renewable Energy Light Sources to Meet the Energy Needs of People Living Off-Grid (2009)
Mentor: Anil Pahwa, Ph.D.
Most of the world’s rural citizens without access to electrical power use kerosene lamps as their main source of light at night. These lamps do not provide sufficient brightness for reading, and can also pose health, environmental, and fire hazards. Finding a solution to provide these areas with sustainable light sources is crucial. It could help them out with their night-time visibility, and eliminate the expense of having to buy kerosene. One of the most popular alternatives would be the solar lantern. A solar lantern runs on free, renewable solar energy, and is cleaner, safer, and much more efficient than kerosene lamps. Cost is the main reason why this proven technology has not been fully utilized in rural areas. For my research, I analyzed different methods and materials to reduce that cost, and constructed a more affordable solar lantern with better efficiency by implementing white light-emitting diodes technology.