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Invitation for Teacher’s to Participate in Clean Energy Solution

Solar Biocells is a  group of scientists, students and education researchers who have developed an affordable solution for the generation of climate neutral fuels. They are developing a fun, hands-on educational package about solar biocells that combines experiential learning, online learning and collaboration with other students from different schools.

The Solar Biocells educational package will allow students to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and grow algal biomass while learning about climate change and potential mitigation mechanisms. The educational package will include an online safety course, a biomass inoculum, salts, a solution, a module containing four bioreactors and a raspberry pi (see Figure1).

fig1

Each module covers a 1m X 1m of ground area and they are 50cm tall. They can be placed in a south-facing garden during the Calgary fall/spring/summer or in any south-facing window all year round. Students will then mix the solution to perform atmospheric carbon capture and add the salts that the biomass needs to grow. This solution plus the inoculum will be put into the bioreactors and biomass will grow as a biofilm on the walls. Once the biomass is thick on the walls the students will then scrape the walls leaving some biomass behind and let the biomass regrow, initiating a cycle of growth and harvesting. The raspberry pi includes meters for measuring the amount of light the module is receiving, its temperature and the amount of oxygen gas being produced by the biomass. Data from the sensors will be uploaded via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and updated live on our website (Fixing the Atmosphere.com) where schools can track how their bioreactor is functioning (see Figure 2).

fig-2

The oxygen production data can also be used to determine when it’s time to scrape the biomass off the walls of the bioreactor. You can also see how every module around the world is functioning. To encourage the schools to take care of their modules and increase competitiveness,  a prize will be awarded to the school that converts the most CO2 into biomass each year.

The Solar Biocells group is in the process of constructing their first complete education-scale module system and developing the accompanying online training and educational resource material to help teachers and students.

How to Participate

Teachers can contribute to this process by providing answers to the following questions, or simply by offering suggestions or opinions about the program:

  1. Would this be of value to your existing program?
  2. Would experiential learning around energy innovation and clean technology be helpful?
  3. How do you like your students to be engaged in experiential learning?
  4. What other tools and resources are you currently using?
  5. Would you be interested in piloting this in your school?

If you are interested in participating in an interview with the Solar Biocells team, please contact Sara and she will put you in touch.