Alternative sources of energy are a big concern these days, and in the classroom teachers have desperately searched for ways to teach new methods of generating electricity and other power sources. Most of their usual sources have come up short: a solar kit here, a wind energy kit there, but nothing that really engages the full spectrum of alternative energy generation.
But one kit we have carried does a marvelous job of doing just that, and not only does it cover many different methods of power generation, it also lets students experiment with the best technique for generation with each method of power generation. We are talking about the Horizon Renewable Energy Experiment Kit
The kit is large enough and involved enough for an entire student program on alternative energy. The kit can be combined with the Horizon Renewable Energy Monitor so that results can be shown on a computer screen.
As you can see from the picture, this kit has a lot of different parts. It actually includes two different manuals: an assembly manual and an experiment manual. Let’s take the parts as presented in the manuals. We’ll start with the solar panel:
This panel is sizeable and can generate enough energy to power some LEDS, break water into hydrogen (more on that later) or drive a fan (the one in the lower right in the above picture – the tall thing is a wind turbine). Experiments students run have them not only powering these items but also testing the angle, heat, and shade on the ability of the solar panel to generate power.
The next crucial part of the Renewable Energy Experiment Kit is the Electrolyzer Module.
This in and of itself does not generate energy. What it does is when hooked up to an energy source (the solar panel or the wind turbine) it converts distilled water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be used as fuel! Of course, you can’t just shove hydrogen into an electric motor and expect it to run, which is why there is a fuel cell, which is used to convert hydrogen into electricity:
This Fuel Cell can be hooked up to the LED module or the Fan and will power them by converting the hydrogen into electricity.
The Fuel Cell is one of the more interesting forms of alternative energy generation and the Renewable Energy Experiment Kit manual doesn’t fail to follow up on the subject. Various forms of hydrogen generation are discussed, along with the future of hydrogen generation, and much more.
Getting back to outright alternative energy generation we look at the biggest item in the kit: The Wind Turbine:
The Wind Turbine uses wind the generate electricity. Like the solar panel it can be hooked up directly to the fan or LED panel, or can be attached to the Electrolyzer Module to generate hydrogen fuel. The windmill itself is very adaptable, with the students being able to adjust the pitch angle of the fan blades, as well as the number of blades to determine which is the most efficient method of generating power.
To say this description of the kit only scratches the surface is actually a bit of an overstatement. There are many things for students to study and learn, and loads of experiments to do. The kit is compatible with other Horizon Kits, so for example the hydrogen generated can be used to power the H-Racer Hydrogen Car or the Fuel Cell Science Kit.
The Horizon Renewable Energy Experiment Kit is probably the best alternative energy kit on the market for the classroom. No alternative energy cirriculum should be without one. If your school is interested in buying kits for your program, you can contact us by email for a quote at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com</A>
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