Hampshire College student Daniel Boucher 10F, who is developing a clothes dryer that uses solar energy, is the fall 2012 recipient of a grant award from the Timothy Harkness Fund for Invention.
The Harkness Fund grants awards for innovative work in applied design and invention in the areas of sustainability and renewable energy. Each semester Five College students and alums are invited to apply for a grant to support a project exploring new directions in sustainable living.
Boucher's dryer retains the benefits of convenience and soft, fluffy clothes, while the use of solar energy as a heat source reduces the use of electricity or gas. It is designed for warm, dry climates (sorry, New England!), using the warm ambient air temperature instead of a heating element. Boucher is researching potential commercial applications in countries where energy costs are high.
Although Massachusetts is not an ideal location for using the dryer, he is working with the Transition Mod, a Hampshire student residence focused on sustainable living. A prototype has been installed in the mod and residents are recording their use. Boucher will then use that data to inform future developments and marketing plans for the dryer.
The Harkness Fund honors the memory of the late Tim Harkness, a member of the first class of students to enter Hampshire College in fall 1970. Harkness was a designer and inventor who explored the possibilities of solar energy in the belief that solar power might help solve some of the modern world's most difficult problems.
In addition to the Harkness Fund award, Boucher is also one of the first recipients of the new Roddenberry Microgrants for Actualization, awarded through Hampshire College's Creativity Center.