Renewable Energy Education

October 22, 2013

Renewables are revolutionizing not only the energy industry as we know it, but also science classrooms across the world. Alternative technology is an opportunity to open kids’ eyes to a whole new world of scientific discovery as well as teach fundamental principles in a new way. Let’s take a look at just some of the advantages of integrating renewable technology into the curriculum.

 

Today’s Technology

 

Major industrial nations already source an enormous amount of their energy from renewables, with countries like the UK and Germany generating as much as 15% of their power needs with alternative technology. Energy grids of major cities are now supported by localized micro grids and smart grids using renewables. Then there are major automotive companies like Hyundai, GM and Toyota, as well as smaller innovators like Arcola Energy, creating hydrogen fuel cell hybrid and electric cars. Both the EU and US states such as California are investing in a comprehensive renewable refueling station infrastructure, while telecoms in India look to renewables to provide more reliable power generation. Renewables are all around us and becoming an increasingly important part of our lives—what better way to illustrate the direct relevance of science to the real world.

 

Teach Key Principles

 

Teaching renewable energy not only opens up a whole new world of energy generation, but also introduces some basic scientific principles. Renewable technology is a practical example of the principle of energy conversion, taking energy from the wind or sunlight and converting it into electrical energy or storing it as hydrogen. Connected to this is the principle of energy conservation— renewables are a great opportunity for students to measure energy loss as it is converted and stored. Then there’s the classic electrical circuit, Horizon education kits contain propellers and LEDs to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of power generated from renewables.

 

Inspire

 

Wind turbines, solar panels, fuel cells and all the equipment involved in teaching renewable science naturally capture the imaginations of young minds. Students can experiment with the effects of shade on solar panels, measure wind resistance on turbine blades, try out different kinds of fuel cell to see which is the most efficient and compare metal hydrides with hydrogen generated from water electrolysis. The experiments are directly practical, involve fascinating, engaging technology while still teaching those key electrochemical principles.

 

Renewables are a multi-faceted tool for science teachers. They are Ideal for getting young minds excited about science, more interesting and versatile for science teachers to create engaging lessons and directly relevant to the technology innovations happening all around us. In the quest to inspire the next generation of physicists and chemists, renewable energy science equipment is a great place to start.

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