Feifei Chen, Amr Farouk, Xin Wen, Tiange Zhuang
Soil Erosion by Nature
This team worked to develop a way to combat soil erosion problems resulting from the Three Gorges Dam in China—the world’s largest hydropower station. Yearly water fluctuation means that there is a constant erosion problem. The SSE team developed an approach inspired by the kingfisher’s “third eyelid”—a protective, retractable layer that covers the bird’s eyes while it plunges into water. Their device is a mesh structure that covers soil while it is submerged and flushed with water. The device can be retracted after the water level is lowered, ensuring that it will not affect plant growth and damage the ecosystem.