Solar Powered Electrolysis
Third Place Award
Sofi's project won third place in the KidWind-VA Middle School Solar Challenge Competition! Her project is also featured on the national KidWind site at https://www.kidwind.org/online-challenge/solar-structure/projects/recoohie0w56y5San
Dream Big Award
The judges recognized that Sofi's project goes beyond what she created. They recognized that the concept, ideas and science behind her project should be commended for how it can be used to help our environment!
Purpose of the Project
Sofi's project focused on the process of separating oxygen from water to capture hydrogen. She states that this is an important process because hydrogen is a valuable fuel source. Hydrogen buses and cars could replace gasoline vehicles and this can help cut carbon emissions. She looked at the work of William Nicholson who was the first person to work with water eletrolysis to inspire her project.
Water Electrolysis Energy Buoy
This is an image of her W.E.E.B. (Water Electrolysis Energy Buoy) that she created for her solar project. The W.E.E.B. is powered by four solar panels in parallel, as shown by the circuitry diagram. To learn about how the W.E.E.B. works, the steps she took to create it, collect data to determine its effectiveness in capturing hydrogen, and her vision of the W.E.E.B.'s use in the environment, please see her Google Slideshow and the video she created about her project.
Initially Sofi wanted to create a way to use solar panels to run a system that filters out salt from seawater to make the water drinkable. However, she found that obtaining suitable filter material to use was not easy to find. She then decided to figure out a way to use solar power to run a system that captures hydrogen from water that would fuel vehicles instead of vehicles using fossil fuels. Her Google Presentation and movie explain the steps she took, first using batteries to produce power to run her electrolysis system, then switching to solar power. She found that four solar panels in parallel configuration produces enough energy to make her electrolysis system work. Another challenge she encountered was finding a way to store the hydrogen. Sofi eventually found that using a funnel worked well. Sofi feels that her idea of using solar panels to run a system to capture hydrogen and then using that hydrogen as a fuel source to run vehicles are two important ways that her system can contribute to today’s clean energy initiatives.