Jamaica News: With a $500,000 grant from the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), students at the Winston Jones High School in Manchester will be implementing a renewable energy project that could result in significant savings in the school’s monthly electricity bill.
The grant was the winning prize in the 16-19 age category of the science contest, held as part of the PCJ’s 2017/ 18 Schools Energy Programme Competition.
The Manchester-based institution took the top school title in the competition held throughout the year, copping prizes in each of the four categories, which in addition to science, included poster, essay, and jingle contests.
For the winning science project, the team of Okelo Smith, Kadine Jordine, Shawn Clarke, and Christopher Morgan, designed a model for a flywheel energy storage (FES) system to supply power to the school during short-peak demand periods.
They were supervised by Electrical Technology and Electrical Installation teacher, Nadine Thompson.
An FES works by accelerating a rotor (flywheel) to a very high speed and maintaining the energy in the system as rotational energy.
The system designed by the students stores energy in a mechanical battery in kinetic format, which is then changed into electrical energy based on rotations through the use of wind energy.
Ms. Thompson, who spoke to JIS NEWS at the award ceremony held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston recently, explained that the design involved a lot of research.
“It took us a number of weeks because we had to do research to get the material to actually rotate and give us a constant speed. That was very challenging for us,” she said.
“We used a lot of different materials. At one point, we used a fidget spinner, which didn’t work and then we went in the home economics lab and scrapped old sewing machines to get the fan belts and used the welding lab to weld the parts together,” she noted.
Ms. Thompson said the team also consulted experts in the wind energy industry on how to undertake the project.
She is elated that they were able to produce the top project in the competition.
In addition to the $500,000 grant, the four students received prizes of $50,000 each.
“We feel humbled and honoured and blessed,” Ms. Thompson told JIS NEWS.
PCJ Chairman, Russell Hadeed, in his address, congratulated all the winners and the runners-up.
“The PCJ firmly believes that educating the youth is an important step in managing energy usage as our young people will shape our future. I commend all the students who participated in the programme as well as their parents and teachers, who supported them and I hope all of them will put what they have learned into practice,” Mr. Russell said.
Launched in 2003, the PCJ Schools Energy Programme is the entity’s major vehicle for promoting energy education among the country’s youth.
The programme, which engages primary and high school students from institutions across the country, aims to sensitise young people about issues affecting the energy sector.
Traditionally, the competition involved an essay, science and poster category, however, this year, a jingle contest was added to the mix, which gave the youngsters an additional outlet for creative expression.
For the 2017/18 academic year, the flagship initiative exposed 2, 244 students from 103 schools across the island to social and economic energy issues as well as methods of energy production and the importance of efficiency and conservation.
This was done through seminars that featured presentations from industry professionals as well as educational tours of energy generating facilities such as the Jamaica Public Service Company’s (JPS) hydro plant and wind farm and the BMR wind facility in St. Elizabeth; the Wigton Windfarm in Manchester; and New Fortress Energy’s re-gasification plant in Montego Bay, St. James.
More than $4 million in cash and prizes was awarded to students at the award ceremony.
Source: JIS News