Cookers Harness Solar Energy

Casey Miller, News Editor

After completing their Advanced Placement test and final exam, AP Environmental Science turned its attention to a solar cooker project. Students in Jane Kelson and Tren Kauzer’s classes competed for extra credit, attempting to raise water temperature through the use of an apparatus of their own creation that transfers solar rays into heat.

Junior Akshaye Pal, senior Zach Taylor, and junior Ryan Geisreiter collaborated to win in their 6th period class. Their design featured flaps covered in aluminum foil on all sides of a lid-covered pot.

Some students were disgruntled because they hadn’t known they could use a lid. Kelson reminded students,”No one said you couldn’t use a lid!”

Taylor’s group’s water temperature reached 143 degrees after being under the sun for nearly 40 minutes.

“It’s a good way to learn how to harness solar energy, which is completely free and clean. We now have a sense of how powerful solar energy is. Just using really simple materials like foil and cardboard, we were able to build an oven that can heat water,” Kelson said.

“We got second place, so far. My favorite part about this project is working together as a team, because we’re all in this together,” junior Sophia Harrigan.

“[The best part was] watching students be creative and come up with totally different designs,” Kelson said. “I was encouraged to see students using concepts they had learned, like the fact that glass will let in solar radiation of all wavelengths but not let the infrared out, which is what causes global warming.”

“I feel really accomplished with our project. I wasn’t here for most of it, but watching our efforts turn into something was nice,” junior Mira Falicki said.

Junior Sam Gelmis added, “It was really a team effort.”

Kelson was also pleasantly surprised at the ingenuity students demonstrated. “Some of the designs I was skeptical of ended up working the best,” Kelson said.