Students’ Bright Ideas Shine at EnergyWhiz Olympics

COCOA, May 11, 2011 – Florida students have creative ideas for solving some of the world’s greatest energy challenges, and their solutions were demonstrated Saturday at the ninth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics.

More than 900 students throughout Florida converged Saturday, May 7 at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa to compete in the day-long competition showcasing student projects in alternative fuel technologies.

Solar Energy Cookoff teams were judged for their cooker's design.

Solar Energy Cookoff teams were judged on their cooker's design and the dish they cooked.

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 and Hands-On-Hydrogen, model-size hydrogen-powered car races; and Energy Innovations, a full-scale solar electric design challenge.

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 – such as O’Sol Meatballs and Kicken’ Swamp Cabbage – were judged on taste, ingredients and creativity.

The Junior Solar Sprint cars not only raced on the track, but were also judged on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, and innovation.

The Junior Solar Sprint cars not only raced on the track, but were also judged on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, and innovation.

One of the most popular events is the Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), 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.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars gain speed every year.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars gain speed every year.

The Hands-On-Hydrogen competition for middle school students, and the Hydrogen (H2) Sprint, a competition for high school students in grades 9-12, challenges students to design, build and race model-sized cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The competitions expose students to hydrogen’s potential as an alternative fuel source. The H2 Sprint provides graduates of the JSS program an opportunity to continue designing and building alternative-fueled vehicles. Student teams not only showcased their skill on the track, but they also demonstrated their understanding of hydrogen in a 10-minute presentation.

Students develop creative ways to utilize full-size photovoltaic panels in the Energy Innovations competition.

Students develop creative ways to utilize full-size photovoltaic panels in the Energy Innovations competition.

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. Additionally, teams created marketing pieces, such as brochures, fliers, and posters, to promote their innovative product and educate spectators.

The Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff doubled in size this year.

“Our event continues to grow each year,” said Susan Schleith, education coordinator at FSEC. “The number of solar cooking teams doubled compared to last year and we had more than 70 solar car entries – a new record. It’s gratifying to see more and more students excited about alternative energy.”

Competition results are listed below. Photos of the award winners are available on our Facebook page at FloridaSolarEnergyCenter, or visit www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/energywhiz for more event photos.

JUNIOR SOLAR SPRINT

6th Grade Race

1st Place –
Pine View School (car #62, Last Minute Candy Machine), Osprey

2nd Place –
Gulf Coast Academy (car #37, Jamacia), Spring Hill

3rd Place –
Hollywood Christian Academy (car #11, Geiko), Hollywood

7th Grade Race

1st Place –
McLane Middle School (car #15, Vibot 2), Brandon

2nd Place –
Jupiter Middle School (car #28, Robin-Sun), Jupiter

3rd Place –
Conway Middle School (car #68, Kramer’s Favorite), Orlando

8th Grade Race

1st Place –
McLane Middle School (car #14, Vibot 1), Brandon

2nd Place –
McLane Middle School (car #16, Vibot 3), Brandon

3rd Place –
Cornerstone Middle School, (car #50, S-Car-Go), Tallahassee

Most Innovative Vehicle Design (overall)

1st Place –
Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School (car #13), 7th grade team, Merritt Island

2nd Place –
Hollywood Christian Academy (car #12), 7th grade team, Hollywood

3rd Place –
Einstein Montessori School (car #48), 8th grade team, Cocoa

Best Vehicle Design (overall)

1st Place –
McLane Middle School (car #14), 7th grade team, Brandon

2nd Place –
McLane Middle School (car #16), 7th grade team, Brandon

3rd Place –
Hollywood Christian Academy (car #12), 7th grade team, Hollywood

HYDROGEN SPRINT

1st Place Race –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (Imperial High Inquisitors), Merritt Island

1st Place Design –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (Imperial High Inquisitors), Merritt Island

1st Place Performance –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (Race Girls), Merritt Island

Overall Ranking:

1st Place –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (Imperial High Inquisitors), Merritt Island

2nd Place –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (Race Girls), Merritt Island

3rd Place –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (H2 Fuel Cows), Merritt Island

HANDS-ON-HYDROGEN

1st Place Design –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (car #2, The Hula), Merritt Island

1st Place Overall –
McLain Middle (car #17, H2 Go), Brandon
2nd Place Overall –
Andrew Jackson Middle School (car #8, Fred), Titusville

3rd Place Overall –
Trinity Prepatory (car #1, Brain the Train), Winter Park

BRIGHT HOUSE SOLAR COOKOFF

Elementary School Division

WOW! Award –
Hollywood Christian (#21, Metallic Core), Hollywood

1st Place Cooker Design –
Fellsmere Elemen. (#18, The Baja Grillers), Fellsmere

2nd Place Cooker Design –
Knight’s Elementary (#13, Whiz Kids), Plant City

3rd Place Cooker Design –
Hollywood Christian (#21, Metallic Core), Hollywood

1st Place Solar Chef –
Fellsmere Elemen. (#18, The Baja Grillers), Fellsmere

2nd Place Solar Chef –
Fellsmere Elemen. (#17, Cocina del Sol), Fellsmere

3rd Place Solar Chef –
Hollywood Christian (#21, Metallic Core), Hollywood

Middle School Division

WOW! Award –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (#8, Panda Dynasty), Merritt Island

1st Place Cooker Design –
Hidden Oaks Middle (#18, Alessa Grill), Palm City

2nd Place Cooker Design –
Hidden Oaks Middle (#17, Sol Power), Palm City

3rd Place Cooker Design –
Conway Middle (#25, Chef JLJ), Orlando

1st Place Solar Chef –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (#8, Panda Dynasty), Merritt Island

2nd Place Solar Chef –
Hidden Oaks Middle (#18, Alessa Grill), Palm City

3rd Place Solar Chef –
South Seminole Middle (#4, International Cooking Flare), Casselberry

Energy Innovations

Wow! Award (combined division) –
Gulf Coast Academy (NEXXAN Sun Glider), Spring Hill

Middle School

1st Place Photovoltaic Design –
Gulf Coast Academy (NEXXAN Sun Glider), Spring Hill

2nd Place Photovoltaic Design –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (The Air Heads), Merritt Island

3rd Place Photovoltaic Design –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (The Dukes), Merritt Island
High School

1st Place Photovoltaic Design –
Pasco High (Solar Tricycle), Dade City

2nd Place Photovoltaic Design –
South Broward High (Sun Tiki), Hollywood

3rd Place Photovoltaic Design –
Edgewood Jr/Sr High (The Happy Cows), Merritt Island

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