Lucan student turns up the heat on waste energy use

by Padraig Conlon

Lucan Community College student Ronak Pathak has found a way to turn waste energy into a usable heat source.

Ronak’s project ‘Heat Power’ was one of many impressive projects at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS last week, and uses energy from electrical devices, and turning it back into useful energy.

“I did it by using thermo energy generators,” he told Dublin Gazette.

“They work by using the C-Beck effect. That is where one side of a generator is heated up, while the other side is cooled down.

“That difference in temperature creates a voltage, where the atoms on the cooler side start to condense and slow down, while the atoms on the hotter side get more excited and move around more.

“That means the cold side will get more negative, and the hot side will get more positive.”

To do his tests, Ronak connected a number of heat generators to his phone using a charger.

He then timed how long it would take his phone to lose 10% power with and without the thermoelectric generator.

“I found out that after doing the test three times that my phone lasted 33 seconds longer on average with the thermoelectric generator,” he said.

“This is a 2.5% increase in battery life.”

Ronak had a working model at his stand, connecting a large number of generators. He told us about what improvements he would make to his project.

“If I was to do it again, I would make the wires a lot smaller, because I think I am losing a lot of energy as the power travels through the wires.”

“I’ve been working on the project for about two or three months now,” the 4th year student said.

“Because I am in Transition Year, I feel I have a lot of time, and I’ve already a big interest in science. I felt this was the perfect opportunity for me to get involved in the Young Scientists Exhibition.

“My teachers Ms. Healy and Ms. Byrne helped me and both provided me with equipment and guided me in what to do.”
Ronak was delighted to get the opportunity to be involved in the event.

“Being surrounded by so much science is super,” he said.

“I feel like a bit of a nerd and a geek at times! I’ve had a walk around to look at the other projects, but you don’t get too much time as you are waiting around your stand for the judges.”

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