Local seniors create generator to produce alternate power
Right now, all you’d see of Miles Buckley’s senior project are two rods – one with copper wires and another with magnets around it.
But if everything goes as Buckley and his peers have envisioned in their Advanced Placement physics class at Nevada Union High School, the rods could well be a part of a wave-powered generator next spring, that would produce electricity from waves in the ocean.
“We are trying to find more efficient and renewable kind of energy because we are experiencing a shortage of fossil fuels, which won’t last forever,” said Buckley, 17.
Students now are getting materials to build prototypes for the actual generator, said 17-year-old Cody Fitting, Buckley’s colleague.
“This is the first time students are doing this project,” said John McDaniel, physics teacher at NU. To make the generator, “they had to learn about electricity and magnetism and basic generator design. Then, I let them design one on their own.
“I do make sure what the students are doing is practical, and they are not traveling down a path that will lead to frustration,” McDaniel said.
Last year, students in McDaniel’s class made a 10-foot wave tank, a precursor to the wave-powered generator. Both the wave tank and the generator are being funded by a $10,000 grant McDaniel received last year from Toyota Tapestry, a science grant program administered by the National Science Teachers Association.
Once the wave-powered generator is completed, the students intend to test it in real ocean waters in the Fort Bragg area, said 17-year-old Travis Randall, a student involved in the project.
Buckley is now talking to the California State Parks service and Fort Bragg county government to help them do the testing, he said. The Fort Bragg county government “seems pretty into it,” Buckley added.
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion. com or call 477-4229.
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