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Energy & Power Project Ideas (39 results)

Whether you are working, studying, or being entertained, much of our daily routines rely on being plugged-in. You probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about where all that power comes from, but someone has to! Figuring out the best ways to produce energy is a big job that is growing along with the world's population. Energy can also be a hot topic with argements about whether to invest in fossil fuels or clean renewable energies like solar, wind, water and geothermal. Take a first-hand look at some of the problems and challenges scientists and engineers are tackling as they look at making and storing energy in our collection of energy science and engineering projects.

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Science Fair Project Idea
Generating power from mud sounds like science fiction, but it is actually real science, and a promising source of alternative energy. Topsoil is packed with bacteria that generate electricity when placed in a microbial fuel cell. Because such bacteria-laden soil is found almost everywhere on Earth, microbial fuel cells can make clean, renewable electricity nearly anyplace around the globe. They are an up-and-coming technology that scientists and engineers are working to make even more… Read more
Elec_p071
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites We recommended that you have a basic knowledge in physics of electricity and familiarity with the concepts of conductivity, electric current, resistance and electrical power. Having used a multimeter before is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The needs to be special-ordered from our partner .
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Be sure to wear the gloves supplied with the kit when handling the microbial fuel cell's electrodes (its cathode and anode). The electrodes are made of a conductive material called graphite fiber and should not be placed near electronics, power plugs, or have their fibers dispersed in the air. The fibers will cause electrical shortages when in contact with electronics.
Science Fair Project Idea
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal near Falkirk in central Scotland. It consists of two diametrically opposed caissons which rotate to lift boats between the two canals through a height of 35 meters. The wheel is always perfectly balanced and, despite its enormous mass, rotates through 180° in less than four minutes, using just 1.5 kilowatt-hours (Wikipedia contributors, 2006). Do background research to find out how much… Read more
Energy_p006
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
Solar cells are popping up on rooftops everywhere these days and are a model for clean, renewable energy. Did you ever look at those solar panels and wonder how we can get electricity produced by solar cells when the sun is not shining? It is a great question because solar panels do not produce electricity when it is dark outside. One strategy to overcome this challenge is to store the energy produced by solar cells during the day in the form of a fuel that can be used at a later time. In… Read more
Chem_p099
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Completion of a basic chemistry class is recommended before trying this science project. You should also know something about circuits, or use the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ElectronicsPrimerIntroduction" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Science Buddies Electronics Primer" #].
Material Availability A number of specialty items are required. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Use caution when connecting the four 9V batteries. Ensure that the wires/connectors do not come in contact with each other to cause a short or the batteries will become VERY hot and can possibly cause burns. Cobalt nitrate can cause skin and eye irritation. It is recommended to wear disposable gloves when handling cobalt nitrate.
Science Fair Project Idea
Most of the energy and fuel that we use in the United States is derived from burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the remains of plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Examples of fossil fuels include coal, petroleum oil, and natural gas. Burning coal releases 21.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide— a greenhouse gas that may be responsible for global warming and climate change—into the air in one year. About half of this amount is absorbed by natural processes… Read more
Energy_p032
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This science fair project must be performed in a well-ventilated area; a fume hood is recommended. You must also have a teacher who can help you order the necessary chemicals.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. You will need methanol, and either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. See the for more information.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Minor injury is possible. You must wear safety goggles and gloves when dealing with chemicals. Do not breathe in fumes from the chemicals. Read and follow the suggestions in the .
Science Fair Project Idea
Earth, the Sun, wind, and water are all sources of renewable and sustainable energy—and sources you probably already know about. But did you know that you can get energy from such things as banana peels, coffee grounds, and newspaper? In a process called composting, you can transform kitchen and other solid wastes into a product that is beneficial for your garden: homemade fertilizer. As the waste decomposes, it also creates heat. Can this naturally created heat be put to use? In this… Read more
Energy_p035
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Making a compost pile can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on the method and bin you use. In this energy and power science fair project, you will spend a few days creating a compost pile. You will have to account for the time as you are planning your science fair project. You will also need to be home for several hours at a time on many specific days throughout this project. Read through the Experimental Procedure for more details.
Material Availability You (and friends, if possible) will have to start collecting potato peelings or grass clippings a few weeks in advance to accumulate enough, so keep this in mind when budgeting time for your science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles and use caution when working with all tools. Be sure to wear disposable gloves when handling animal waste and to clean all of the work surfaces thoroughly with a bleach solution. Read the Science Buddies to learn how to experiment safely.
Science Fair Project Idea
If you are interested in exploring how renewable energy can improve the environment, this project could be for you. You'll take on a real-life engineering challenge: deciding whether the benefits of a renewable energy technology are worth the cost to implement it. Some sample questions are suggested, but you can also come up with your own question that matches your specific renewable energy interest. Is there such thing as a free lunch? Read more
Energy_p016
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A mentor who has experience with solar energy systemes (design, hands-on, or both) in the building trades is highly recommended for this project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
This project is a great way to "bring home" the concept of energy use. All you need to get started is a good-sized sample of monthly electric bills from households in your area. Building from this simple beginning, you can ask questions that can take you in many different directions. For example: How much electricity does the "average" person in your area use per month? How much does electricity use vary among different families? Read more
Energy_p017
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites To do this project you will have to collect sample monthly electric bills from at least 30 different households, along with the number of people living in the household.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Global warming, climate change, melting ice caps—these are all big events that have an impact our environment. What can we do to help reduce the impact? We can reduce, reuse, and recycle. What can cities do to help? Cities can eliminate waste by saving energy. Cities around the world are switching from incandescent traffic signals to LED traffic signals to save energy and money. That's because LEDs are more efficient than incandescent lamps, which means that LEDs produce more light… Read more
Energy_p003
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Prior experience with using a digital multimeter
Material Availability Specialty items (see Materials list)
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Since this science project deals with electricity, adult supervision is recommended. The LEDs used in this project are used in traffic signals and are very bright. Do not look directly at the LED when it is in operation and be sure to wear your sunglasses. Be sure to wear safety goggles when operating power tools.
Science Fair Project Idea
"Gross! What is that in the toilet?" But maybe it's not just gross. Did you know there are bacteria that digest organic waste and create electrons? What if there was a way to collect those electrons to power a circuit? In this science fair project, you will make a microbial fuel cell to collect the electrons that the bacteria—anaerobic bacteria—create...only, you'll be using mud, which is much safer to handle than wastewater. If you would like to learn how to reuse and recycle an… Read more
Energy_p026
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Previous experience using a multimeter and being familiar with the physics of electricity is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability Specialty items required available from our partner . See Materials section for more details. You also need to have access to a lower-order stream of water or a creek. See the Introduction for an explanation of this type of stream. Try to avoid streams in which the bed is rocky. The benthic mud sample should be from an area that has a thick, rich mud bed.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Be careful when using a hot stove and a drill. Remember to always wear safety goggles when drilling. Exercise caution when working near a stream or creek. Water currents can be stronger than they look.
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