2024 EnergyWhiz Award Winners

EnergyWhiz was held on Saturday, April 20th, 2024. Listed below are the award winners for the competitions: Critter Comfort Cottage, Energy Inspired Art, Junior Solar Sprint, and Solar Energy Cook-off.


Best Design

Elementary (3-5) Division

1st – Team Turtle-Tastic, Sally Ride Elementary, Orlando Teacher: Beatriz Berriz

2nd – Happy Hamsters, Red Bug Elementary, Casselberry Teacher: Tisha Greek

3rd – EcoDragons, Lockmar Elementary, Palm Bay Teacher: Jennifer Lucas


Middle (6-8) Division

1st – Sustainable Krill Farm, Switzerland Point Middle, Jacksonville Coach: Ricardo Haragutchi

2nd – Croaky Critters, Pershing K-8, Orlando Teacher: Heather Febres

3rd – The Leaping Lizards (Napoleon), Pershing K-8, Orlando Teacher: Heather Febres

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Space Coast Community Celebrates Its 25th Year Recognizing Exemplary Science Teachers

Six outstanding science teachers received the distinguished Exemplary Science Teacher Award from the Space Coast Science Education Alliance (SCSEA) last Space Coast Science Education Alliance SCSEA logoweek at a dinner honoring their achievement. The award is given in recognition of Brevard County teachers who go above and beyond to foster a love of learning and develop science literacy among their students.  

“When SCSEA started this program 25 years ago, it was to encourage exemplary science teachers to keep up their great work, and for the community to say thank you for the sacrifices that teachers and their families make. That goal remains the same,” said Susan Schleith, SCSEA treasurer and FSEC educator. “Our outstanding science teachers are the key reason Brevard is among the top Florida school districts in science education.”       

The dinner was hosted by UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center®, where FSEC Deputy Director, Philip Fairey, addressed the teachers with some notable remarks. “The scientific method is rigorous—requiring defensible evidence-based results. Science is not a belief as some claim. Rather, it is a method of discovery that has significantly improved human existence over time. And this is what you do—you teach our children what science is and why it is so important.”

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2023 EnergyWhiz (In-Person) Award Winners

Congratulations to all of the award winners at this year’s EnergyWhiz! This year’s event was held on Earth Day, April 22, 2023 at FSEC, an energy research center at the University of Central Florida, in Cocoa, Florida.


Green Division (Grades 3 – 5)

Best Design

1st Place – BlackJack – Sumter STEM 4H (Wildwood)
Teacher – Jenna Childs

2nd Place – The Three Speeds – NSU University School (Fort Lauderdale)
Teacher – Michele Garren

3rd Place – The NSU Gang – NSU University School (Fort Lauderdale)
Teacher – Michele Garren

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2023 EnergyWhiz Virtual Award Winners

EnergyWhiz Virtual logoFrom crazy contraptions that take you around the world, to super speedy solar cars, this year’s EnergyWhiz Virtual was diverse and inspiring. Visit https://www.energywhiz.com/energywhiz-virtual-2023/ to see the projects. The award winners are listed below.

Be sure to join us for EnergyWhiz in-person on April 22, 2023 (Earth Day) at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa. Projects at the in-person event include Critter Comfort Cottage, Electrathon, Energy Inspired Art, Junior Solar Sprint, and the Solar Energy Cook-off. Exhibits and tasty food truck fare will also be there. All are invited to participate in an EnergyQuest (scavenger hunt) and win a prize. 

This year’s sponsors include FPL, KUA, Duke Energy, LifeStyle Homes, Florida Association of Sleep Technologists, Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, and Drive Electric Florida. Read more

Startup M2X Energy Partners with UCF’s FSEC, Aims to Convert Greenhouse Gases into Low-carbon Methanol

The startup-university partnership is creating a technology to convert stranded gas methane, which is a common byproduct of oil production, to methanol, that can be used in low-carbon fuels and other materials.
Closeup of gas burning from well head with clouds in background
Gas flaring is the process of burning and disposing stranded natural gas, a byproduct of oil production, at oil wells. Photo credit: Anthony Dean, M2X Energy

Most people realize the climate impacts of carbon dioxide. Not many people, however, know that methane, the main component of natural gas, is much more potent than carbon dioxide.

While methane doesn’t remain in the atmosphere as long as CO2 (which can linger for thousands of years), it is 84 times more potent at trapping heat over a 20-year time horizon, according to the sixth annual assessment report of the International Panel on Climate Change. And in 2021, the emission of methane rose to record levels for the second year in a row, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That’s why UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has partnered with startup M2X Energy, which has developed a technology to capture methane from gas flare sites and convert it to liquid methanol, which can then be transported. The startup was created in 2020 and venture-funded by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which was founded by Bill Gates and helps accelerate innovations that support getting to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Read more