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Enter The Hedgehog

1st Place in District Science Fair

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by , 11-25-2010 at 02:02 PM (2217 Views)
Just thought I'd post this. I've been head of the School's Inventor workshop for four years. This year, we decided to enter 'Biofuel as an alternative energy source'. Amazingly, even without a finished project, we came 1st place in the district and are now off to the finals in May 2011. Our main write-up;

Westmorland Science Project 2010
Biofuel as an Alternative Source of Energy

The aim of this project is to demonstrate how biofuel can be created and utilised as an energy source in the common household using a model. This model will demonstrate the decay of organic material over a period of time to produce the bio-fuel, and how it may be trapped and then “contained” in an appropriate vessel for use in the home.

In the small, developing island of Grenada, our predominant source of energy comes from fossil fuels, a resource that is not obtained anywhere on the island and is an expensive global commodity. In addition, it is a non-renewable, that is quickly depleting due to exploitation, and is environmentally unhealthy on combustion due to the excessive production of green house gases that are accredited with the phenomenon of global warming, and which is linked to extinction of species and increase in atmospheric temperatures. This has led us to consider alternative sources of energy, sources that are more environmentally-friendly, healthy and cost effective. Many different sources were investigated, including geothermal energy and hydro-electricity. It was finally concluded that biofuel would be a more suitable avenue to explore for Grenada.

The idea of using biofuel as an alternate source of energy is feasible in Grenada. Many citizens rely on “the land” and all its natural, organic materials daily. To name a few, many citizens consume organic products such as fruits, vegetables and ground provisions daily; lawns and “yards” are landscaped frequently; and plots are weeded and “debushed” often with agricultural practices. All this organic waste refuse, once gathered, will often be burnt, and it is not uncommon to observe one household lighting fires on a weekly basis and further exacerbating existing environmental problems. It is proposed therefore that this waste be used to create biofuel, which can help eliminate some of our dependence on fossil fuels. This is both cheaper and healthier.

Considering the amount of organic material thrown out each month, the energy made through biofuel would be sufficient to replace fossil fuels in some uses such as household cooking. Though it is not expected to completely replace fossil fuels, it is anticipated that with the right management it will provide an adequate substitute for a fair amount of the fossil fuels, thus lowering both the cost of living and the damage being done to the ozone layer. Another side benefit is a byproduct from the production of biofuel. Rich compost which can be used to assist in the production of rich crops.

Around the world, many countries are beginning to use biofuel as an alternative source of energy with a fair amount of success. Brazil has even begun using biofuel as a complete substitute fuel in vehicles or as a partial substitute by mixing it with fossil fuels. This way, the amount of fossil fuels used is still reduced.

In numerous parts of Europe, biofuel is becoming extremely popular as the amount of biofuel consumed continually increases over time. Major consumers include Spain and Germany where it is possible to buy biodiesel (biofuel mixed with diesel) in over hundreds of gas stations around the country.

Recent studies from Booz-Allen Hamilton Inc (2009) has provided evidence to show that on a yearly basis, biofuel mixed with diesel will cost less than diesel alone.

In conclusion, the world is now in need of a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly energy source. This is even more applicable in a developing island like Grenada that depends heavily on the natural environment and does not have the access to much financial support. The world is moving away from fossil fuels to more efficient energy sources. We believe that biofuel can be that source for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

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  1. Bliepo's Avatar
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    A interesting read. Although I am a bit sceptical about the global warming affair, I nevertheless believe that it is important to lower our use of fossil fuels, even if it is just to create a healthier and more comfortable environment. In my eyes, biofuel is one of the few viable options to the energy dilemma the modern world is facing. It frustrates me, that we still continue to use fossil fuels, even though there are alternatives. I believe the main problem is attitude, instead of available technologies, although improvement is certainly desirable.
    I hope we will see a world that doesn't depend on fossil fuels in the near future!
  2. Stomp_442's Avatar
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    I could remember reading in my local newspaper a while ago, about somebody that would use cooking grease that restaurants tossed out to the trash, as fuel. Of course the grease needed to have something do to it to be able to be used as fuel.

    Vegetable oil fuel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia