Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spinning under Pressure: A Microturbine Project

Submitted by Sarah, class of 2011:

Team Turbine (Mark, Sarah, and Marina) unpacking their turbine

The water for our school runs downhill almost twice as fast as it needs to, and we don't use that extra pressure. So that causes wasted energy, since we currently use a regulator just to take out the pressure so the water will be ready for use. But just taking out the pressure and not doing anything with it is not good. Not good at all.

So we thought about it and decided a Microturbine would be a good way to fix this issue. We would place it in the pipes, it would rotate and generate energy that we could actually use! So we went to maintenance and presented this solution and they got on board too. So we measured the water flow from two of Catlin's buildings and ran all sorts of tests and theoretical situations. After analyzing our results using some really complex equations, we wrote up a whole application about our findings and how this would work, where it would work best and what it would help with. Unfortunately, the average flow throughout the day from those two Catlin building barely produced 25 watts, but this project still is thought provoking. Maybe thinking about how to generate energy from unexpected place could provoke a dialogue about more energy-producing and saving inventions. This project could be really good for everyone if they start thinking about new and creative ways to produce energy!

We will submit this proposal and account of our project to the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. This challenge encourages student teams to identify an energy-related issue that has local, national and global implications and provide a viable solution. Check out the challenge at :