Ceren Burcak Dag, from Nisantasi, Turkey, won $5,000 and a crystal sculpture for her work involving piezoelectric effects, in which electric potential is generated in response to a temperature change or mechanical stress.
Dag utilized polyvinylidene fluoride material in finding a way to change the energy of falling rain into electric power.
The award was announced this week at the 2009 World Water Week conferences in Stockholm, Sweden. Dag's development was chosen from more than 8,600 projects submitted for consideration. The Stockholm Water Foundation and the Stockholm International Water Institute administer the Junior Water Prize. The ITT Corp. is the global sponsor of the program.
Dag, in a release from SIWI, said: "We have a new energy source from rain with a piezoelectric effect with this project. I hope that my work will contribute to the development of the next generation of energy panels where rain, sun and wind are combined."
The prize jury noted Dag's efforts at working for a solution for problems related to global climate change.
"Reducing CO2 emissions by developing alternative environment-friendly, renewable energy sources is a specific response to this global problem," the jury citation said. "This year's winner had a spark of genius in developing a high-tech solution that used PVDF, a smart material with piezoelectric properties, to transfer the kinetic energy of raindrops into electrical energy."
"I am so proud of Ceren Burcak Dag and the thousands of students from across the world who participated in this competition," said Gretchen McClain, president of the commercial business unit of ITT Corp. "These projects underscore the importance of involving the next generation in researching and taking action toward finding solutions to today's water and energy challenges."
Emily Elhacham, from Israel, and Mary Zhao, from Canada, were given diplomas of excellence by the prize committee. Elhacham's project was called "Detecting Water Contamination Chemical Sensors using Metal Nanoparticle Networks." Zhao's work was titled "Grasping water: A novel method of inducing precipitation using the Ice Nucleating Protein."
Entries for the 2009 competition were received from students in 29 countries. Winners of national competitions were invited to Stockholm for the World Water Week sessions.
SIWI said the contest is open to people ages 15-20 with water-related projects that focus on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance.
World Water Week has convened in Sweden each August since 1991. This year's theme is "Accessing Water for the Common Good" and provided special focus on trans-boundary waters.
More than 2,000 participants were on hand for the meetings scheduled for Aug. 16-22.