Doable Renewables. 16 Alternative Energy Projects for Young by Mike Rigsby

By Mike Rigsby

Humankind must locate and enhance replacement types of power. because the world’s inhabitants keeps to develop, extra humans will want entry to lights, verbal exchange, transit, and computing. Fossil fuels are getting used up at an alarming speed, yet different power sources--solar, wind, waves, “waste” warmth, or even human power--are either renewable and environmentally pleasant. The tasks during this booklet may also help any budding scientist build and discover operating versions that generate renewable, substitute energy.

            In Doable Renewables, readers will how you can construct a Kelvin water drop generator out of six recycled cans and alligator clip jumpers, a solar-powered seesaw from a wide dial thermometer and a magnifying glass, and a windmill from 8 yardsticks, PVC pipe, cardboard, and converter generator. teenagers will examine the energy-generating houses of a sun mobilephone, a radiometer, a Nitinol warmth engine, and a Peltier phone. They’ll even construct a human-powered table lamp.

            each one undertaking incorporates a fabrics and instruments checklist, in addition to on-line info on the place to discover really good parts. And for younger scientists, writer Mike Rigsby demonstrates easy methods to use an infrared thermometer, a electronic multimeter, and an electric utilization visual display unit to check their designs. Armed with this choice of technological chances, can the answer to the earth’s power situation be a ways off?

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The heat stored in a swimming pool during sunlight hours could be extracted at night to turn a generator and light a house. Although the efficiency is very low at this small temperature difference, thousands of gallons of water store a significant amount of energy. So why isn’t this done? Mainly, the cost of building such a system isn’t competitive with the low cost of electricity or other fossil fuel–burning sources. You do not need a college degree or expensive materials to build a Stirling engine, but the engine pictured above requires careful construction and precise components.

This is an important rule of physics, the main part of the Laws of Thermodynamics. Yet it’s tricky. Just because you “can’t get something for nothing” doesn’t mean you can’t get something for free. On a chilly autumn day you can step into the sun and it will warm your body. You don’t pay money for the sun, yet it will provide you with free energy. To change heat into movement, as the Solar Drinking Bird or the Nitinol Spring Wheel do, there must be a temperature difference, a hot side and a cold side.

01(001-076)_chap01-11:DoableRenew 28 7/22/10 5:21 PM Page 28 Doable Renewables You can paint and color the cardboard shade to make the project more attractive. More to Think About • Will a different color paint work better on the bird’s body? • Will a large hat on the bird work as well as the cardboard sun shade? • Does the bird dip faster if the sun is brighter? • Can you use a light to make the bird dip? 01(001-076)_chap01-11:DoableRenew 7/22/10 5:21 PM Page 29 Solar Drinking Bird 29 4′′ Shade 3A 2′′ This template is not to scale.

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