Catsense researchers Anupam and Ting-Wei met with school teachers Anne and Guido, and discussed how they could contribute to the schools’ STEM energy projects.
Together with engineering students from cooperative company CORE (www.thinkcore.be), Catsense researchers Anupam and Ting-Wei brainstormed the concepts of a sustainable energy future, and listened in on CORE's 'rational energy use' projects with schools.
Catsense researchers Anupam and Ting-Wei discussing educational approaches and contents with CORE students Marlies and Yorick at STUKcafé downtown Leuven.
Measuring current energy consumptions
The engineering students from CORE are currently tracking energy consumption data (electricity, water, gas) at 6 local schools in the Leuven area. One of the schools is primary school VBS Terbank, located near the science campus of KU Leuven. Catsense researchers Anupam and Ting-Wei went over to visit the schoolchildren of the 5th grade (10-11 years old) and listened in on their energy monitoring actions and energy savings plans. Anupam and Ting-Wei learned from the kids that during the current school year the fifth graders were gathering data on all incoming energy meters in order to perform a zero-point measurement. CORE students Marlies and Yorick already installed tracking devices (FLUKSOMETER, see picture below) inside the main electrical switchboard. The FLUKSOMETER sends data in real-time wirelessly to the cloud. Kids are adding daily hands-on read-outs of all meters and of a roof-top educational solar panel set-up, feeding additional data and meta-data to their Excel sheets.
Kids from 5th grade classes (10-11 years old) explained their current actions and unveiled future plans
Plans for energy savings
To obtain a reliable zero-point measurement, the fifth graders will have to perform meticulous analyses of all data during the coming months. Anupam and Ting-Wei, together with Marlies and Yorick of CORE, agreed to help the children to analyze the vast amount of data. Based on this, the kids and the students will create action plans to significantly lower energy consumption throughout the school. Not only will the kids have to come up with technical solutions, they will have to convince all 200 schoolchildren, the teachers and the school's prinicipal and administrators, to back their energy saving strategies and join their technical improvement projects. Energy savings results will also be evaluated and compared with the results of 5 other participating schools in an End of the Year Contest.
Carefully logging all energy data is an essential part of the zero-point measurement. FLUKSO wirelessly routes data to the cloud, while kids add read-outs and meta-data.
A sustainable energy future
To offer the kids a view of a sustainable energy future without fossil fuels, Anupam and Ting-Wei asked the kids to come up with original ideas based on the poster (see picture) from a Science Magazine article by Catsense partner DTU (Technical University of Denmark). These ideas will be discussed and compared with traditional energy schemes, with Smart Grids integrating solar PV installations and wind turbines, and with fuel cells and the role of energy carriers like H2 and methanol, gently introducing the kids to the world of materials science and nanotechnology. (see Horizon educational kit below)
Check out the educational kits at Horizon : Horizon's Renewable Energy Science Kit, pictured above, demonstrates the workings of a clean energy technology system on a miniature scale.
The Horizon Energy Box provides a complete understanding of how fuel cell technology interacts with renewable energy sources to create an entirely sustainable power grid. Solar power, wind energy, kinetic energy from a hand crank and a demonstration of the incredible storage potential of a super capacitor.
There’s a range of fuel cells to compare: PEM hydrogen fuel cell, the salt water fuel cell and a direct ethanol fuel cell. Countless experiments, so many scientific principles at work and plenty of space for creativity.
Power an electrical circuit by solar panel or a wind turbine with profiled blades based on NASA aeronautics. Generate hydrogen through water electrolysis and convert it into electricity using a PEM fuel cell. Whichever combination of technologies you want to explore, this science kit is a comprehensive introduction to the principles behind renewable microgrids.