EnergyWhiz Olympics to be Held at FSEC on Saturday, May 7

The annual EnergyWhiz Olympics, a series of day-long activities dedicated to students with an interest in alternative fuels, will be held at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa on Saturday, May 7, beginning at 9 a.m.

The day’s events will include the Junior Solar Sprint competition, the High School Hydrogen Sprint competition and the second portion of the Florida Middle School Science Bowl — the Hands-on Hydrogen Demonstration.

The Junior Solar Sprint is a hands-on competition for middle school students in grades 6-8. Students work in teams to design, build and race model-size, solar-powered vehicles. Awards are given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed.

The High School Hydrogen Sprint is a hands-on competition for high school students in grades 9-12. Students in this program design, build and race hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This competition was created to expose students to the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source and to give the graduates of the Junior Solar Sprint program an opportunity to continue designing and building alternative fuel vehicles. In addition to the hands-on portion of the competition, teams are required to give a 10-minute presentation on some aspect of hydrogen research.

The national Middle School Science Bowl, sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, features both a question and answer competition and a hands-on engineering event. The program is designed to encourage middle school students to excel in mathematics, science and engineering. The Florida Middle School Science Bowl held at the Florida Solar Energy Center is one of 23 sanctioned regional science bowl competitions held throughout the United States. The winning teams from each regional competition will be given the opportunity to
compete in the National Science Bowl in June in Golden, Colorado.

The Hands-On Hydrogen Demonstration is the engineering component of Florida’s Science Bowl. The top eight teams from the academic portion of the Middle School Science Bowl held April 2 at FSEC were given hydrogen fuel cells and were challenged to design and build a model sized moving vehicle. Demonstrations of these vehicles will take place at the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

After the morning hydrogen presentations and demonstrations, the Junior Solar Sprint and High School Hydrogen Sprint races will begin at noon.

For more information on these exciting educational events, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/ed/activit/ewhizolympics.htm/.

The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy areas. For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or call the FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015.

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