Tapping the power of the sun will be the theme of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Junior Solar Sprint Solarbrate event on May 10. Visitors will see participating students race solar cars and build solar models using K'NEX construction toys.
Tapping the power of the sun will be the theme of the U.S. Department of
Solarbrate event on May 10. Visitors will see participating students race
solar cars and build solar models using K'NEX construction toys.
Sponsored by NREL, Kaiser-Hill, BP American, Inc., Midwest Research
Institute, Battelle and Bechtel, the Junior Solar Sprint and Solar Model
Building Competition give students from around the state the opportunity to
show their engineering and design skills by building and racing model
solar-powered vehicles and solar powered models.
For the Junior Solar Sprint, each team starts with a motor and a silicon
solar cell, which converts light into electricity. Using any other
materials, competitors design and build vehicles no larger than 12 inches
wide, 24 inches long and 12 inches high. The 20-meter race is a double
elimination competition with awards going to the five fastest cars. Five
design awards also will be given for technology, craftsmanship and
Students in the Solar Model Building Competition use a K'NEX Energy System
Kit Model, which contains 1,082 pieces, two motors and two solar panels.
With it, they must design and build a solar-powered model that moves or has
moving parts powered only by the sun. The winner of the contest will be the
team whose model is awarded the most points by the judges.
NREL is a national laboratory managed by Midwest Research Institute,
Battelle and Bechtel. In addition to its work on biotechnology for fuels
and chemicals, the lab is a leading center for research into photovoltaics,
wind energy, energy-efficient buildings, advanced vehicle design and
hydrogen fuel cells.
WHAT: Junior Solar Sprint, 11a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Forty-four teams of middle
school students from across Colorado will race model solar cars designed to
use the sun's energy.
Solar Model Building Competition, 9:30 a.m. - Nine middle-school student
teams tap their creative energy to design and build solar powered models
such as a lunar rover or Ferris wheel using K'NEX construction toys.
In addition to the competitions, NREL's Visitors Center will be open from 9
a.m. until 4 p.m. The Visitors Center offers an interactive exhibit hall and
videos on renewable energy. The Junior Solar Sprint Solarbrate event is free
and open to the public.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., MAY 10
WHERE: Building 27, 1829 Denver West Drive. To get to Building 27, take I-70
to Denver West Boulevard, Exit 263, and travel north to Denver West Parkway,
west to Denver West Drive and turn left.