Sample Entries: Sample 6

Judging

Photo of Team MemberSample 6

Hot Rot

Coach: Jon Hood
Community: Bexley, Ohio
Status Achieved: First-Place Winner

Section 1: The Issue

Rising fuel costs, a limited supply of nonrenewable resources and, in some areas, a total lack of modern plumbing have left millions of people around the world without a reliable source of hot water. Meanwhile, compost piles, easily created from yard wastes, are capable of producing massive amounts of heat that currently go untapped.

Section 2: Research

The team conducted interviews with an environmental biologist from a leading composting facility, a horticulturist, two compost researchers and a garbologist for guidance on composting. These experts described the elements needed to create a compost pile and the type of compost pile that could generate the most heat. The team discovered additional background information on composting through online research. They also contacted representatives of the U.S. Peace Corps and Far East Ministries to determine whether third-world nations might benefit from a water-heating system that uses compost.

Section 3: Testing

Based on its research, the team built a hybrid of the long, narrow "windrow"-style compost piles and the more traditional mounds. The result was a cylindrical-shaped mound that was longer than it was wide, allowing the highest levels of heat to be released from the top, in a chimney effect. The team used freshly ground brown (carbon-based) and green (nitrogen-based) yard waste, along with air and moisture, to maximize heat production. A coiled, copper pipe, attached to a faucet, was run through the center of the pile, and two CBLs were set up to plot air temperature and compost temperature every 15 minutes throughout the duration of the study. Every morning and evening for 15 days, the team ran fresh, cold water through the pipe and then recorded the temperature. Despite the frigid December temperatures, the pile consistently heated the water to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Section 4: The Solution

People around the world in need of an inexpensive source of hot water could benefit greatly from the creation of a water-heating compost pile. The team identified the education of communities and individuals in need about the implementation of this alternative energy source as their primary goal.

Visual Presentation:

VHS videotape.

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