An energy symposium on May 16 at the Grayson County Middle School showcased student’s inventions using wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and other non-fossil energy sources.
Seventh-grade teacher Rob Kaercher said the students were angered with the disastrous effects of mountaintop removal coal mining, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and research other ways to power everyday items in the home.
One of the most notable was a solar powered digital music player, because it is a common device that a lot of people own.
Students Logan Nichols and Grant Akeridge wanted to find another way to power the music player because it was always going dead.
They first figured the mp3 player needed 1.5 volts to keep running.
Each of the solar panels, which were one half a volt each, was wired up together in a sequence.
The 256mb mp3 player, when tested in the field, worked perfectly.
“Now you can listen to it anytime as long as you are in the sun,” said Nichols.
What surprised another group is how items found in a garage could be turned into a solar powered grill.
The metal frame of the grill was created from a hubcap off of a vehicle.
Kendra Goodman, Macy Whobrey, and Becca Payne said the creation, which has three legs on it and looks like a spaceship, is a very cost effective product.
“Most of the items were found in my dad’s garage,” explained Payne.
The only thing they had to purchase was a piece of metal screen from tractor supply in Leitchfield.
Goodman said the way the grill works is simple.
“The sun hits the solar panel then travels up through the wires to the heating element,” added Goodman.
The heating element then radiates up through the screen causing the surface to heat enough to cook items.
Whobrey said the symposium really hit home, and taught her a lot about how much people misuse energy.
“We should conserve energy more because we are losing our natural resources,” said Whobrey.
Kevin Peterson and Ross Embry built a wind turbo that when wind goes through the device it causes it to spin and create electricity.
“We built the item from scratch,” said Peterson. “It took only four hours to create the project.”
Brandon Armstrong, Lindsay Grant, Alisa Johnston, Dana Lucas, Larrya Lucas, Terri Lucas and Elizabeth Priddy created a solar powered home.
They built a mock up house from solar generated lights that people purchase to place in their yard.
Priddy said the students split the top and bottom up and placed the part with the bulb on it inside the roof of the home.
“The system was re-wired to properly illuminate the home,” added Priddy.
The five-day effort involved a numbers of steps before the finished product was tested.
One of the student’s fathers built the home the group painted the house, and then shingles were applied to the roof.
The seven members in the group learned that it is a little bit more expensive to build a solar home, but it pays back in the long run on the money saved from energy use.