Topic: Energy

13610718405 8d701e3bd5 k

Science Middle School

A New Rechargeable Battery

Technology Engineering Energy chemistry

People rely on batteries to power our technology: laptops and phones run on rechargeable batteries. These can leak and are full of chemicals. But over time, these batteries stop re-charging, forcing us to purchase a new battery. But what if our batteries never died? A new battery was recently created that can last over 100 times longer than typical batteries. Listen to this story to figure out how one scientist has engineered a new battery.

Read More
Solar impulse 2 oahu hawaii april 2016

Current Event August 24, 2016

Solar Powered Plane Makes Historic Around the World Trip

Technology Environment Energy

For the first time in history, two pilots flew the Solar Impulse 2, a solar powered plane, around the world without using any fuel. This technology will have to be developed more before the public will be able to fly in them. Nevertheless, this flight symbolized the innovative progress made by aviators and energy conservationists. Listen to the story to hear more about the flight from pilot, Bertrand Piccard.

Read More
13753763013 49ec57d317 z

Current Event June 18, 2016

How Wind Affects Wildlife

Environment Animals Energy

The Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to find out how bears will react to a new wind project. It will be the first commercial wind project on U.S. Forest Service land and will include 15 turbines.They started tracking bears by using radio collars to see how they move around before the turbines are in place. The collars had many problems, so they started using cameras to track the bears. Now they have data to study bears and wildlife both before and after the wind project begins. Share this story with your students so they can learn more about this wind project in Vermont and its impact on wildlife.

Read More
Tesla

Current Event April 28, 2016

Batteries for Your House

Energy Electricity

Outside Reno, Nevada, the company Tesla is constructing a giant battery factory. The batteries will be made for the company’s electric cars as well as other things. Known as the Gigafactory, the building will allow the company to scale up battery production and reduce the price of their electric cars. Tesla is planning to revolutionize energy use by producing something new in their Gigafactory: a “Powerwall,” or a battery for the home. Listen to the story to learn more about how Tesla’s Gigafactory may inspire innovation and lead to cleaner energy use.

Read More
21402988453 112287232e k

Current Event February 2, 2016

Safer Batteries

Energy

Hoverboards, two-wheeled, self-balancing skateboards, are banned from some airlines, subways, and retail stores. That’s because there have been dozens of reports of fires and explosions because they are powered by lithium batteries, which are filled with highly flammable material. An engineer from Stanford University has designed a useful solution to prevent this dangerous problem. Her design involves a thin piece of plastic that helps regulate lithium batteries and make them safer. Listen to this story to find out more about how this innovative solution works.

Read More
Earthquake damages hydropower systems

Science Middle School

Earthquake Damages Hydropower Systems

Earth and Space Science Physical Science Energy Forces and Newton's Laws

Earthquakes can have far-reaching consequences not just on homes but on the power infrastructure. A 2008 earthquake in Southwest China left officials and engineers monitoring the structural integrity of enormous hydroelectric dams built to generate power. A fear of flooding caused by a cracked damn led some to wonder if they had taken the strengths of the region, its rivers and irrigation systems, and turned them into a potential threat. Listen to learn how hydroelectric power systems impact places and people.

Read More
Volcanoes and geothermal energy

Science Middle School

Volcanoes are a Source of Renewable Geothermal Energy

Economics Earth and Space Science Physical Science Energy

As nations look for clean energy alternatives many are turning to wind and solar, but Indonesia is turning to its volcanoes. Indonesia has 130 active volcanoes. These volcanoes generate geothermal heat that is releases through vents and hot springs throughout the country. Power companies are learning to harness and redirect this heated steam into power plants in order to generate electricity. Indonesia’s geothermal energy potential is huge, but start up costs and oil subsidies might prevent this burgeoning clean energy from taking off.

Read More
Solar energy

Science High School

Supply and Demand of Solar Energy

Economics Earth and Space Science Environment Energy

To lower dependency on fossil fuels, some Americans have installed solar panels on their homes to produce their own clean energy. This decision involves a cost-benefit analysis of cost value and environmental impact. In some regions this cost-benefit ratio has been upset by fracking, and the cheap natural gas that it produces. How does supply and demand impact the cost of energy? How does the cost of energy impact people seeking alternatives such as solar energy? Listen to learn how one family has dealt is dealing with this shifting energy landscape.

Read More
Microbial fuel cells

Science Middle School

Turning Sewage into Microbial Fuel Cells

Life Science Earth and Space Science Environment Energy Cells

Scientists are creating bacteria batteries in an effort to use waste water to create electricity. This public radio story is about how the microbes from sewage can be harnessed to create microbial fuel cells. The process could provide ways to provide energy in remote place for very little money.

Read More
Energy of ecosystems

Science Middle School

Industrial Scale Composting

Life Science Ecosystems Physical Science Energy Ecology

Students in Bellingham, Washington, pushed to introduce composting programs at their high schools and these programs proved successful. This public radio story also gives an insider's view of industrial scale composting from multiple perspectives. It follows food from the school cafeteria to the compost site where it is transformed by microorganisms and eventually to home gardens and nurseries where compost is applied as fertilizer and mulch.

Read More
Rare earth elements

Science Middle School

Low

China Owns Most Rare Earth Elements Used in Electronics

Technology Environment Physical Science Geology Energy

Rare earth minerals are very important to today's electronics. Your iPod, laptop, and television use them. They make electronics light so they don't need much power. But the Chinese have a lock on the production of rare earth elements and this could become a problem for the US.

Read More
Fracking and earthquakes

Science Middle School

Research Shows Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Geology Energy Forces and Newton's Laws

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the process of putting liquid into shale to remove natural gas. There's concern that waste water from fracking that is put back into the ground is causing earthquakes. This public radio story explores the relationship between fracking and earthquakes.

Read More
Energy in the future

Science Middle School

Low

Improving Battery Storage

Technology Engineering Physical Science Energy Electricity

How is energy produced? This public radio story explores the relationships between energy and power. It looks at how energy is stored in batteries. Scientists are still working on how to best contain energy to store for later.

Read More
Cloud seeding

Science Middle School

Cloud Seeding for Weather Modification

Earth and Space Science Environment Weather and Climate Physical Science Agriculture Energy

There is a debate over whether cloud seeding is an efficient way to produce more snow and rain in places where droughts are the worst. Opponents claim that the chemicals that are sprayed into the air to create more water are toxic and could cause health issues in the future. Others believe this is the only way to for some gas and electric companies to obtain more energy. Listen to learn about the other concerns at hand and if this the history of this process.

Read More
A delicious solution to our energy problem

Science Middle School

A Delicious Solution to Our Energy Problems

Earth and Space Science Environment Energy Electricity chemistry

A new source of energy is being developed by using Michigan's industrial food waste. Using existing technology for converting manure into electricity, these anaerobic digesters are doing their work on pudding packs and canned peaches, among other delicacies. Listen to learn how they are turning waste into electricity.

Read More