Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2015 - (Page 18)

Energized! A Crash Course in Fuels of the Future by Alexander Lai like mOst peOple, i never gave it much thOught when i plugged my phOne charger intO an electrical sOcket. i certainly never thOught abOut all the time, peOple, and resOurces it takes tO pOwer the lifestyle i tOOk fOr granted. but when my sister, whO had attended the duke energy academy at purdue university twO years agO, suggested that i apply, i began tO think abOut energy. where dOes it cOme frOm? hOw much dO we use? will it always be there? by the time the applicatiOn deadline rOlled arOund in January, i had sO many questiOns that i knew i had tO apply. The Adventure Begins The Duke Energy Academy at Purdue is a free weeklong experience that focuses on different types of energy, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the future of our energy grid. The application process entailed writing an essay and answering a few questions about the classes I had taken. Because everything-including food, housing, and even transportation-was paid for, once I received my acceptance two months later, all I had to worry about was deciding what to pack. When June 22 arrived, I could not contain my excitement. Since I live so close to Purdue, I was one of the first to arrive at the residence hall where we were staying, but it wasn't long before high school students from around the country were beginning to pour in. By the time the icebreaker activities began, there were about 50 participants in the room-all of them as eager as I was to learn about the world of energy. During these activities, we were separated into seven groups, each of which would focus on a different energy-related topic during the week. I was part of the yellow group-which included seven other participants, as well as a night and day counselor and several teachers-who would focus on photovoltaic solar cells or solar panels. The next day, the fun began. After breakfast, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels officially kicked off the program, and Dr. Pankaj Sharma, the director of the Energy Academy, gave an orientation describ- 18 imagine ing the premise of the program. Each of the seven groups would conduct an experiment related to their topic and then create a presentation about it. We would have time to work on the research project at the end of every day, but we would spend most of our time participating in tours, interactive lectures, and hands-on activities. The schedule of the program was extremely full, so immediately after orientation, we jumped right in to exercises and lectures. Going All In The next few days went by in a blur, but I still clearly remember many of the highlights. One day, we visited the Benton County Wind Farm, which spans 11 square miles and contains 87 wind turbines. During the tour, we had the chance to stand next to a wind blade, and I was amazed at its size: its width was almost twice my height! Seeing them only from a distance, I never realized how big individual wind turbines or wind farms could be. Building on what we learned, the next day we did a hands-on activity in which we created our own wind blades out of materials such as construction paper, cardboard, and hot glue. My group's design didn't produce much power, but it was interesting to see which designs were the most effective. I was surprised that some of the most effective designs used extremely small blades made of bent construction paper instead of complex three-dimensional blades. May/June 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2015

Big Picture
In My Own Words Daniel Kammen, Professor of Energy, UC Berkeley
A Solar-Powered Solution to the Water Crisis Using the sun to purify water
The PolluCell Generating electricity using waste and pollution
More than a Race The Solar Car Challenge
Energy Agenda The power of teen research
Energized! A crash course in fuels of the future
Grease Is Good Helping the environment and the community with biofuel
Fueled by Algae Sara Volz and the powerful potential of pond scum
The Future of Energy Five careers in green power
My Sanskrit Yaatra Connecting with my culture through language
Devoted Awareness My internship with Until There’s a Cure
Selected Opportunities and Resources
Off the Shelf Review of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options Interview with green architect Andrew Thompson
One Step Ahead Six things incoming college students should know
Planning Ahead for College Developing your passions
Students Review: University of Pennsylvania
Creative Minds Imagine
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2015