Most American teens may see a pool as a chance for a swim or lazy summer relaxation, but one group of California high school students envisions swimming pools as a new source of electricity to power U.S. schools, homes and businesses, LiveScience reports. Their energy solution relies upon the power of thermoelectric panels capable of harnessing the temperature difference between a hot surface and the cold water. That could do much more than just power household devices — huge floating farms of the devices might create electricity for energy-hungry coastal towns and cities.

“As this device floats on water, reflector panels focus sunlight onto a black surface that converts the solar energy to heat,” said Anthony Silk, a math teacher and adviser to the Harker School team in San Jose, Calif. “This heat is then passed through thermoelectric panels and passively dissipated into the surrounding water.”

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