Here are many ideas for science fair projects that are geared toward environmental awareness, renewable energy and sustainable living.
Wind Energy Demonstration - Build a wind tower with small electric motor which generates power to do work or charge a battery. Use an external fan or hair dryer to simulate wind. Supply supporting information from major wind energy manufacturers.
Renewables Survey - Conduct a study on the best renewable energy sources to use in your area, and identify the opportunities and challenges to implementing such a plan. Interview providers, agencies, landowners.
Hydrogen Generation - Build a solar powered water hydrolyzer. Use a solar cell to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. Supporting information would describe the Hydrogen Economy and fuel cell powered devices.
Hydroelectric Power - Build a hydroelectric generator. Small scale to have falling water turn a turbine which generates electricity. Research and document the environmental tradeoffs of hydropower.
Biodiesel - Create biodiesel from discarded fryer oil. Show the reactions and the issues around using biodiesel in conventional diesel vehicles. Research new developments in biodiesel generation.
Concentrated Solar Power - Create a working model of a concentrated solar power (CSP) station. Discuss hot fluid flow and storage, load leveling.
Composting - Perform an analysis of various waste streams to understand the potential reduction from composting (cafeteria, home, restaurant, etc.). Supporting evidence on uses of compost or organic matter in biofuels.
Cheapest / Greenest Batteries - Calculate the life cycle cost of various types of batteries in typical applications. For example, how many alkaline, rechargeable NiMH or Lithium AA would be required to operate a digital point-and-shoot for 1 hour per day for 1 year. Calculate the extended cost per year and measure the landfill and toxic metal contribution in addition to the total cost. Will require calculating life of various battery types in various applications.
Energy Audits - Create and execute an energy audit in various settings and attempt to measure the impact of various changes. Obtain electric bills or other usage metrics and do before/after data analysis. Focus on specific areas such as compact fluorescent (CF) lighting or setback thermostats.
Smart Power Strips - Some devices are sold that will measure electricity consumption on specific outlets. Consider using them to calculate the effectiveness of smart power strips, and calculate the payback period of a strip compared to the annual electricity usage avoided.
Carbon Footprint - Calculate the carbon footprint of various people you know. Suggest ways for them to lower their footprint. Explain the concept and compare footprints of your users to those in various places/countries.
Green Rooftops - Build a green rooftop and demonstrate the value in food/plant production and energy savings.
Waste Biomass to Energy - Research and conduct a survey of local agricultural or industrial processes that generate unused biomass that could be diverted to energy production through burning or ethanol production. Contact the waste stream generators and interview to understand their issues and the status of biomass reuse.
Cellulosic Ethanol - Demonstrate the process and effectiveness of various process or substances used to break down cellulose to fermentables for ethanol production. Ferment a control and various experimental settings and compare the quantity of ethanol produced.
Clean Water - Measure the water quality of various water sources such as ponds, lakes and streams. Note the quality variations of several samples from the same source over time and from various locations, such as upstream and downstream of an industrial site.
Landfill Gas Power - Demonstrate the generation of energy from landfill gases. Build a sealed landfill with organic material. Capture and show the methane generated and describe applications of landfill gas used to produce electricity.
Animal Waste Power. Demonstrate the generation of energy from animal waste. Similar to above but a little higher on the "gross" scale! Gather statistics on total mass of beef, pork and poultry waste generated in your country in one year and calculate the potential MWh per year of electricity which could be generated. Convert to currency.
Automobile Mileage Studies. Measure the impact of various mileage improvement strategies. It helps to have a vehicle with a reliable instantaneous MPG calculator. Maintain strict controls on ambient temperature, warmup, elevation change, wind and other nonvariables, and vary tire pressure, acceleration rate, vehicle speed, total vehicle weight and other factors. Run multiple nonsequential trials for each and show variability within and across variable groups. Make conclusions on effectiveness of each variable. Predict a target MPG from the combination of several factors and then experiment to see how close the actual values came to your predictions.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station. Design a solar powered electric car recharging station. Using current equipment specifications, calculate how large the station would need to be to recharge a current production electric vehicle. Estimate the cost of construction and years of operation to calculate cost per kWh and compare to conventionally-purchased electricity.
These are just a few ideas for combining Green with your next Science Fair project. Do Well!Green Science Fair Projects - Creative Ideas For Environmentally Oriented Projects
John Huegel is a photographer in the Erie, Pennsylvania area who specializes in Seniors, Dance Studio, Families and other groups. He is active in many charitable and volunteer activities in the Erie area. His work can be seen at http://jhphotomusic.com