Spring SAVY 2019, Day 6 – The Water-Energy Nexus (5th/6th)
This was the final session for the Water-Energy Nexus course. What a great 6 weeks it has been! I was very impressed with the students. They found creative ways to overcome limitations in some of our experimental activities and engaged the lessons in a way that made me more curious about some of the topics that we discussed. I enjoyed the challenge of condensing many years of water treatment and energy conversion concepts into smaller pieces.
· We began by going over the class expectations (respect, raise your hand, don’t touch the experimental materials until instructed) and the outline of events for the day
· Then we immediately began our salinity gradient experiment because the forward osmosis bags actually required 8 hours to fill completely. We needed to begin with this so that the bags had the longest amount of time to fill. In the end we achieved 80-90min of fill time which was enough to see a result
· Then, we reviewed some of the concepts from the biofuels activity (carbon footprint, greenhouse gases, biodiesel, ethanol, fermentation)
· Then we discussed semi-permeable membranes and their use in passive filtration systems
· We watched a short video describing “blue energy” which is the natural chemical energy potential existing at the interfaces of salty and non-salty solutions
· Then we dove into the equations that would allow us to determine the relationship between osmotic pressure and volumetric flux for our salinity gradient experiment
· Then we conducted our salinity gradient experiment and discussed the results
· Then we completed the course post-test and the course evaluations
· Then we continued to work on our balloon-powered cars from the previous week while parents started to arrive for open house
· During open house, we answered questions from the parents, reviewed some of the course highlights, sampled some of the sugary water recovered from the salinity gradient experiment, and presented certificates of completion to the students
· Students departed with their certificates, balloon cars, research journals (which were kept throughout the course), and a fun energy quiz to work on with their parents on the way home.
Final Week’s Photos