Students create innovative environmental solutions through STEM applications

Yes, we are all busy people and some of us do our laundry at night. How nice would it be if we were able to save some electricity bill by using a night dryer that stores solar energy harvested during the day and releases energy in the form of heat during the night to dry our clothes?

That is what the NightDryer project created by HeatSpace team from St. Patrick’s School is trying to do. The team won the Shell STEM Youth Innovation Challenge (Shell STEM Challenge) competition theme for energy on 13 July 2015. Other winning teams are Kiwanos from Bukit View Secondary School (food theme), Galaxy CJYESS team from East View Secondary School (water theme) and Serious About Science team from Chestnut Drive Secondary School (eco-friendly materials theme).

Prototypes of the finalists on display
The HeatSpace team from St. Patrick’s School

The Shell STEM Challenge first started as a four-day camp in 2013 with 50 Normal Technical students participating. This year, 253 students from all secondary three streams participated. They were mentored by Engineers from the real-world industries and Educators with Science backgrounds to create solutions solving problems concerning issues revolving environmental sustainability.

The Kiwanos team from Bukit View Secondary School

The Kiwanos team came up with a project which enables cyclists to keep food packed in a lunch box warm with the box attached to the back of the bicycles. Electricity is generated when the bicycle is being paddled, lighting up a little lightbulb fixed in the lunch box. While light energy turns into heat, an insulator in the box further traps the heat to keep the food warm. Their inspiration came from observations of food wastage by students throwing away home-packed food that turned cold.

The Serious about Science team from Chestnut Drive Secondary School

With regard to food wastage, the Chestnut Drive Secondary School team worked on creating biodegradable plastic files from food waste collected in school canteen. They started off by extracting starch from food, then adding some salt, vinegar and glycerol to mould into files for students’ use. The process of their prototyping involved countless attempts of perfecting their “recipe”, varying the amounts of each component to create a consistent thickness for the plastic.

The Galaxy CJYESS team from East View Secondary School

Another winning project goes to East View Secondary School. Noticing cleaners using high pressure water sprayers to clean the HDB blocks, the Galaxy CJYESS team came up with a prototype that showcases an underground system that filters water that is captured after the cleaning sessions to store the used filtered water for future use like watering plants or car washings. The filter system has three layers which will first remove ammonia and nitrite, followed by the removal of colour, odour, toxic and heavy metals and lastly to remove the finest dirt particles.

The top winners with the GOH, hosts and VIP guests

We’d like to congratulate all the participants who have come a long way in this seven-month long competition. The Final Judging and Award Presentation Ceremony saw some 200 guests attending, giving tremendous support to the 16 finalist teams showcasing their prototypes. Prof Low Teck Seng, Chief Executive Officer of National Research Foundation is the Guest of Honour for the event and the VIP guests are Ms Brenda Stout, General Manager (Bukom Manufacturing Site) from Shell Companies in Singapore and Mr Sin Kim Ho, Director (Sciences Branch), Curriculum Planning & Development Division 1 from Ministry of Singapore.

The Shell STEM Challenge is organised by STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore, sponsored by Shell Companies in Singapore and strongly supported by Ministry of Education. Check out other projects and more photos found on the Shell STEM Challenge Facebook page.

Eng Yee Peng is the Manager for Media & Communications from STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore.  Once a TV Writer/Director, Independent Filmmaker and Book Writer, she’s now enjoying working on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by capitalising on the integration of both the digital and traditional media.

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