Three Kenyan students – Himanshi Sehgal, Souparni Roy and Richa Nagda – are among 15 students selected as finalists for Google’s Science in Action Awards.
The three – working under the name “Scientists in Progress” qualified with their entry, entitled ‘Can heat and tomatoes produce electricity?,’ which looks into how electricity can be created through the transformation of solar energy into steam.
In their abstract or summary, the three students state thus:
“The light energy from the sun is used to generate electricity,but what about the heat energy? In solar panels light is converted to heat but this conversion also takes energy so why not use only heat energy which saves more energy as it does not require conversion, therefore it is MORE EFFICIENT. This was what inspired us to come up with this project-
Our project is based on the production of electrical energy using heat from the sun when it reaches the earth as light and heat.
During the project our idea was-” production of electric energy using heat from the sun and focusing it using a magnifying glass and reflecting using a mirror, whereby it heats up the metal placed under it and this heated up metal would help the process of turning the water /tomato water under the metal into steam. “Once the steam is produced ,it can be used to rotate a steam turbine which would then make generators work and produce electric energy just the way it is done in ”mains electricity”. We chose this project because electrical energy is a necessity in our lives and still many countries cannot produced the required amount of electrical energy because the resources are very expensive. The outcomes that we expect is that the mirrors and magnifying lens will be able to raise the temprature of the metal to turn the water under it into steam and the water contained in tomatoes will be also be able to help this , we also expected the copper to be a better metal for our project and we also thought that all the sizes in magnifying glasses would focus the same amount of energy. After we conducted the experiments ,we discovered that Copper gets heated up really quickly even if a great deal of heat energy is not supplied. One of our hypothesis stood wrong because not all the sizes of magnifying lenses will focus the same light,and the rest formulated hypothesis stood right. Our project is very reliable, doesn’t harm the environment and looks promising. It will be able to produce the required amount of electrical energy and solve the problem of over production of tomatoes, pollution by using fuels, lack of electrical energy. We wish to research further and improve this project to perfection and maybe in the near future try to find even better ways to produce energy using different materials because electrical energy remains the most vital and most used energy in human life of today.”
The Science in Action prize, sponsored by Scientific American, honors a project that makes a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge. Submissions should be innovative, easy to put into action, and able to be expanded to other communities.
The annual Google Science Fair award offers students between the ages of 13 and 18, from across the globe, the opportunity to pursue their interests in science and technology – fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers. This year, Google challenged students to develop their curiosity and come up with a winning idea.
Winners and finalists of the Google Science Fair – to be announced on Thursday June 27 in US – will receive a variety of life changing prizes, ranging from a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, to a $50,000 Google scholarship, to hands-on experiences at LEGO, CERN or GOOGLE, prizes from each partner, and much more.