COCOA, May 4, 2010 – Florida students have creative ideas for solving some of the world’s greatest energy challenges, and their solutions were demonstrated Saturday at the eighth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics.
More than 500 students throughout Florida converged May 1 at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in
Cocoa to compete in the day-long competition that showcased student projects in alternative fuel technologies.
Events included the Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, a solar cooker design and cooking contest; the Junior Solar Sprint, model-size solar car races; the High School Hydrogen Sprint, model-size hydrogen-powered car races; and Energy Innovations, a full-scale solar electric design challenge.
The Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff challenged students to design and build solar cookers, and also cook a recipe of their own creation in their oven. Students’ creative dishes were judged on taste, ingredients and creativity.
One of the most popular events is the Junior Solar Sprint, where students in grades 6-8 design, construct and race solar-powered vehicles. This hands-on competition encourages scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork. Awards were given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed. This year, 63 teams competed.
“Clear skies and improved car designs made for a speedy race,” said Susan Schleith, education coordinator at FSEC. Teams had at least two opportunities to demonstrate their vehicles’ performance in the double elimination format. One of the top cars was clocked at 6.7 meters per second, or 15 mph.
The Hydrogen Sprint, a competition for high school students in grades 9-12, allows students to design, build and race model-sized cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. This competition exposes students to hydrogen’s potential as an alternative fuel source and also gives graduates of the Junior Solar Sprint program an opportunity to continue designing and building alternative-fueled vehicles. Participating teams also gave 10-minute presentations demonstrating their understanding of hydrogen.
The Energy Innovations program is a full-scale solar electric design and marketing challenge for middle and high school students. Each team designed and constructed a product or artistic work fully powered by photovoltaic panels, more commonly known as solar electric panels. Teams also created marketing pieces, such as brochures, fliers, and posters, to accompany their products.
“It’s impressive to see student teams creating projects that will benefit others in time of need,” said Penny Hall, event coordinator of the EnergyWhiz Olympics, referring to the Emergency Medical Cooler designed by Orlando’s Olympia High School in response to Haiti’s recent earthquake.
Competition results are listed below. Photos are available upon request; contact Sherri Shields at 321-638-1019.
Junior Solar Sprint
6th Grade Race
1st Place – Gulf Coast Academy of Science & Technology, Spring Hill
2nd Place – Lockhart Middle School, Orlando
3rd Place – Pine View School, Sarasota
7th Grade Race
1st Place – Lockhart Middle School, Orlando
2nd Place – Southwest Middle School, Palm Bay
3rd Place – Orlando Science Schools, Orlando
8th Grade Race
1st Place – Jupiter Middle School (car #41), Jupiter
2nd Place – Jupiter Middle School (car #64), Jupiter
3rd Place – Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park
Most Innovative Vehicle Design (overall)
1st Place – Conway Middle School, 7th grade team, Orlando
2nd Place – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, 7th grade team, Merritt Island
3rd Place – Cornerstone Learning Academy, 6th grade team, Tallahassee
Best Vehicle Design (overall)
1st Place – McLane Middle School, 7th grade team, Brandon
2nd Place – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, 7th grade team, Merritt Island
3rd Place – McLane Middle School, 8th grade team, Brandon
1st Place Race – Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park
1st Place Vehicle Design – Olympia High, Orlando
1st Place Team Performance – Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach
1st Place – Trinity Preparatory, Winter Park
2nd Place – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island
3rd Place – Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach
Bright House Solar Cookoff
Elementary School Division
1st Place Cooker Design – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Indialantic
2nd Place Cooker Design – Jupiter Elementary School, Palm Bay
3rd Place Cooker Design – New School Preparatory, Orlando
1st Place Solar Chef – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (team #8), Indialantic
2nd Place Solar Chef – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (team #9), Indialantic
3rd Place Solar Chef – St. Martha Catholic School, Sarasota
Middle School Division
1st Place Cooker Design – Sweetwater Branch Academy, Gainesville
2nd Place Cooker Design – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island
3rd Place Cooker Design – Lincoln Middle School, Gainesville
1st Place Solar Chef – Edgewood Jr/Sr High (team #1), Merritt Island
2nd Place Solar Chef – Edgewood Jr/Sr High (team #13), Merritt Island
3rd Place Solar Chef – South Seminole Middle School, Casselberry
1st Place Photovoltaic Design – South Seminole Middle School, Casselberry,
The Super Solar Cart 3000
2nd Place Photovoltaic Design – St. Paul Lutheran School, Lakeland,
Going Buggy With Solar
3rd Place Photovoltaic Design – Gulf Coast Academy of Science & Technology,
Spring Hill, Apollo’s Angels
1st Place Photovoltaic Design – Olympia High School, Orlando,
EMC Emergency Medical Cooler
2nd Place Photovoltaic Design – Holy Trinity Episcopal School, Melbourne,
Solar Irrigation Pumping Station
3rd Place Photovoltaic Design – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island,
Solar Home Innovations
Wow! Award (combined division) – Bayside High School, Palm Bay,
Solar Powered Hydrogen Fuel Cell
7 thoughts on “Students Shine in Solar and Hydrogen Competitions”
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I remember in high school, we had a solar fair. I t was only 5 counties wide, but there were some energy saving ideas brought to the fair.
I remember in high school, we had a solar fair. Only 5 counties were involved, but there were some energy saving ideas brought to the fair.
It is inspirational to see the efforts of young students such as these given such encouragement to innovate and design. You never know when a single student or team will set something in motion that genuinely improves the lot of the world population.
We could do with an event like this over in London. Fantastic!
Hey! Excellent blog, It reminds me my school days……
I wish this was going on when I was at UCF (2003), I’ve always been really interested in this stuff and I’d almost certainly would have competed. Keep up the good work UCF, wish I could be back there!