Students Shine in Solar and Hydrogen Competitions

COCOA, May 4, 2010 – Florida students have creative ideas for solving some of the world’s greatest energy challenges, and their solutions were demonstrated Saturday at the eighth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics.

More than 500 students throughout Florida converged May 1 at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in

Students from Tallahassee to Miami participated in this year's EnergyWhiz Olympics.

Students from Tallahassee to Miami participated in this year's EnergyWhiz Olympics in Cocoa on May 1st.

Cocoa to compete in the day-long competition that showcased student projects in alternative fuel technologies.

Events included the Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, a solar cooker design and cooking contest; the Junior Solar Sprint, model-size solar car races; the High School Hydrogen Sprint, model-size hydrogen-powered car races; and Energy Innovations, a full-scale solar electric design challenge.

Students cook a dish in their solar oven and then judges taste-test it.

Students cook a dish in their solar oven and then judges taste-test it.

The Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff challenged students to design and build solar cookers, and also cook a recipe of their own creation in their oven. Students’ creative dishes were judged on taste, ingredients and creativity.

One of the most popular events is the Junior Solar Sprint, where students in grades 6-8 design, construct and race solar-powered vehicles. This hands-on competition encourages scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork. Awards were given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed. This year, 63 teams competed.

Which solar-powered car will make it to the end of the 30 meter track the fastest?

Which solar-powered car will make it to the end of the 30 meter track the fastest?

“Clear skies and improved car designs made for a speedy race,” said Susan Schleith, education coordinator at FSEC. Teams had at least two opportunities to demonstrate their vehicles’ performance in the double elimination format. One of the top cars was clocked at 6.7 meters per second, or 15 mph.

Hydrogen Sprint model cars are powered by fuel cells.

Hydrogen Sprint model cars are powered by fuel cells.

The Hydrogen Sprint, a competition for high school students in grades 9-12, allows students to design, build and race model-sized cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. This competition exposes students to hydrogen’s potential as an alternative fuel source and also gives graduates of the Junior Solar Sprint program an opportunity to continue designing and building alternative-fueled vehicles. Participating teams also gave 10-minute presentations demonstrating their understanding of hydrogen.

The Energy Innovations program is a full-scale solar electric design and marketing challenge for middle and high school students. Each team designed and constructed a product or artistic work fully powered by photovoltaic panels, more commonly known as solar electric panels. Teams also created marketing pieces, such as brochures, fliers, and posters, to accompany their products.

The Emergency Medical Cooler uses solar electricity to keep it cold.

The Emergency Medical Cooler uses solar electricity to keep it cold.

“It’s impressive to see student teams creating projects that will benefit others in time of need,” said Penny Hall, event coordinator of the EnergyWhiz Olympics, referring to the Emergency Medical Cooler designed by Orlando’s Olympia High School in response to Haiti’s recent earthquake.

Competition results are listed below. Photos are available upon request; contact Sherri Shields at 321-638-1019.

Junior Solar Sprint

6th Grade Race

1st Place –  Gulf Coast Academy of Science & Technology, Spring Hill

2nd Place – Lockhart Middle School, Orlando

3rd Place – Pine View School, Sarasota

7th Grade Race

1st Place – Lockhart Middle School, Orlando

2nd Place – Southwest Middle School, Palm Bay

3rd Place – Orlando Science Schools, Orlando

8th Grade Race

1st Place – Jupiter Middle School (car #41), Jupiter

2nd Place – Jupiter Middle School (car #64), Jupiter

3rd Place – Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park

Most Innovative Vehicle Design (overall)

1st Place – Conway Middle School, 7th grade team, Orlando

2nd Place – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, 7th grade team, Merritt Island

3rd Place – Cornerstone Learning Academy, 6th grade team, Tallahassee

Best Vehicle Design (overall)

1st Place – McLane Middle School, 7th grade team, Brandon

2nd Place – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, 7th grade team, Merritt Island

3rd Place – McLane Middle School, 8th grade team, Brandon

Hydrogen Sprint

1st Place Race – Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park

1st Place Vehicle Design – Olympia High, Orlando

1st Place Team Performance – Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach

Overall Ranking

1st Place – Trinity Preparatory, Winter Park

2nd Place – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

3rd Place – Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Palm Beach

Bright House Solar Cookoff

Elementary School Division

1st Place Cooker Design – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Indialantic

2nd Place Cooker Design – Jupiter Elementary School, Palm Bay

3rd Place Cooker Design – New School Preparatory, Orlando

1st Place Solar Chef – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (team #8), Indialantic

2nd Place Solar Chef – Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (team #9), Indialantic

3rd Place Solar Chef – St. Martha Catholic School, Sarasota

Middle School Division

1st Place Cooker Design – Sweetwater Branch Academy, Gainesville

2nd Place Cooker Design – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

3rd Place Cooker Design – Lincoln Middle School, Gainesville

1st Place Solar Chef – Edgewood Jr/Sr High (team #1), Merritt Island

2nd Place Solar Chef – Edgewood Jr/Sr High (team #13), Merritt Island

3rd Place Solar Chef – South Seminole Middle School, Casselberry

Energy Innovations

Middle School

1st Place Photovoltaic Design – South Seminole Middle School, Casselberry,
The Super Solar Cart 3000

2nd Place Photovoltaic Design – St. Paul Lutheran School, Lakeland,
Going Buggy With Solar

3rd Place Photovoltaic Design – Gulf Coast Academy of Science & Technology,
Spring Hill, Apollo’s Angels

High School

1st Place Photovoltaic Design –  Olympia High School, Orlando,
EMC Emergency Medical Cooler

2nd Place Photovoltaic Design – Holy Trinity Episcopal School, Melbourne,
Solar Irrigation Pumping Station

3rd Place Photovoltaic Design – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island,
Solar Home Innovations

Wow! Award (combined division) – Bayside High School, Palm Bay,
Solar Powered Hydrogen Fuel Cell

7 Responses to “Students Shine in Solar and Hydrogen Competitions”

  1. Students Shine in Solar and Hydrogen Games | UCF Today Says:

    [...] continue reading about the EnergyWhiz Olympics, click here. Tags: EnergyWhiz, florida solar energy center, FSEC, Olympics Related StoriesFSEC Aids U.S. [...]

  2. Jeffrey Rainey R. Cristi Says:

    I remember in high school, we had a solar fair. I t was only 5 counties wide, but there were some energy saving ideas brought to the fair.

  3. Jeffrey Rainey R. Cristi Says:

    I remember in high school, we had a solar fair. Only 5 counties were involved, but there were some energy saving ideas brought to the fair.

  4. Roy Says:

    It is inspirational to see the efforts of young students such as these given such encouragement to innovate and design. You never know when a single student or team will set something in motion that genuinely improves the lot of the world population.

  5. solar energy london Says:

    We could do with an event like this over in London. Fantastic!

  6. Renewable Energy School Says:

    Hey! Excellent blog, It reminds me my school days……

  7. florida web design Says:

    I wish this was going on when I was at UCF (2003), I’ve always been really interested in this stuff and I’d almost certainly would have competed. Keep up the good work UCF, wish I could be back there!

Leave a Reply