The hydroelectric tank works by converting the kinetic energy of moving water into mechanical work. The mechanical work that is produced is used to create electricity, which lights up the LEDs on the sign.
The Power Bike Project: Pedaling Towards Sustainable Power is this year's project.
The goal, in line with our mission, is to promote awareness of energy use and sustainability on campus.
The Power Bike Project works towards this mission in two ways:
1. Power Generating Bikes
We are building two power generating fitness bikes that charge a battery when ridden, generating usable power that is routed to USB charging ports for various uses, such as charging phones and other devices. The bikes themselves will be built part-by-part by our members, serving as a hands-on educational opportunity to learn more about how power can be generated and used sustainably.
We hope to later install the fitness bikes as cell phone charging stations/fitness machines in the Alumni Gym and the Johnson Center, along with information about the project, to spread awareness about sustainability on campus. Such an installation would allow students to generate their own electricity and charge their phones by exercising - something they were doing anyway - and would ultimately help the broader student body learn about sustainable energy use and engage with our efforts to make the University of Kentucky greener.
In addition to simply building the bikes, we are holding tabling sessions across campus throughout the spring semester to promote awareness of energy conservation, encourage individual action and involvement, and to gather information about the UK student body's perspective on sustainability and conservation efforts here on campus. The bikes will be there so come out and join us!
The project involves four interrelated efforts.
1. UKEC member participation in undergraduate research at the Center for Applied Energy Research
2. The partnership of UKEC with UK Dining to promote and expand UK Dining’s sustainability efforts.
3. Community outreach
4. Sustainability education
The Fueling the Future project is built on the three pillars of sustainability: environmental stewardship, social inclusion, and economic equity. Environmental stewardship is the central to the project, and one of the project’s main goals is to improve the sustainable consumption of food on UK’s campus and promote an understanding of how food waste can be recycled and utilized. Cooking oil, for instance can be turned into biofuel. For instance, UK dining recycles around 2600 gallons of used cooking oil to use as biofuel each semester and most people are unaware of this. UK Dining is also implementing a new compost program. The project works to spread an understanding of these sustainability efforts and why they matter.
The people, groups and organizations included in the project – UK Energy Club members, CAER employees, Redwood School students and faculty, UK Dining staff, students from the Department of Environmental and Sustainability Studies, and the general UK student body – are also of the utmost importance. In short, the project brings together people from a wide array of social and educational backgrounds with a shared goal, the fruition of which impacts each and every individual involved.
Last but certainly not least, the project highlights the importance of equal opportunity in education, community involvement, and equitable economics. Every student on campus has an opportunity to get involved with this project, and the UK Energy Club welcomes, encourages, and actively promotes the involvement of any student with an interest in sustainability. For those who want to get involved, the offerings of the project – from research to communication and networking experience – represent a prominent chance to learn, make a difference, and acquire skills that are universally valuable regardless of what career or personal goals a student may have.