Is Wind Energy Really "Green"?

Introduction

Science fair projects can be used to find the answers to nearly any question that you have. One question that can be used to develop a fantastic science fair project is, “is wind energy really green?” In order to answer this question you will need to conduct background research as well as develop an experiment. So let’s walk through the process of building a wind energy science fair project.

Background Research

Solar wind turbine experiment kits are a good place to start your background research. These kits provide an informational brochure about how wind turbines operate and what mechanical processes are used. This information can be used to guide your pollution research which will be used to support your science fair project experiment and findings.

There are many areas of concern that you will want to research before developing your research experiment. The top areas of concern include how much pollution is produced while manufacturing wind turbines, what pollution is produced during their operation and what other environmental impacts the wind turbines produce. The results from this research will help you to focus in on a specific aspect of being “green”.

Hypothesis Options

The next step is to come up with a hypothesis for your science fair projects. This hypothesis will make a prediction about the original research question of “is wind energy really green?” Here you can focus on any aspect of being “green” that interests you. For example, you can examine the emissions of a wind turbine, the noise pollution that is emitted by a wind turbine or the ecological disruption produced by a wind farm. When you set up your hypothesis you need to demonstrate a clear cause and effect relationship. This can be done by following this format: If A then B will happen.

Possible hypotheses that can be used to answer “is wind energy really green?” include:

1.      Wind turbines produce less air pollution per kW produced than other forms of energy production.

2.      The more wind turbines that are positioned on a square acre of land the more ecological disruptions will develop.

3.      Wind farms can reduce carbon dioxide pollution in a region.

Now you are ready to design your experiment. The experiment for your science fair project will need to focus on proving that your hypothesis’s prediction is correct. The first step in developing an experiment is to identify the variables. The independent variable is the variable that you will be manipulating. For hypothesis 1 from the last section the independent variable will be the number of kW produced by a wind turbine and the dependent variable will be the amount of air pollution produced.

Your experiment will need to first identify what air pollution you will be measuring, i.e. carbon dioxide emissions. You will then need to identify how you will control and measure kilowatt production. Now you are ready to set up your experiment.

Collecting Data

The final step is to collect data for your project. Here it is a good idea to have a data collection sheet to work with to make organizing your information easy to do. In the left hand column you will have a progressive list of kilowatts. In the right hand column you will enter how much carbon dioxide is produced over a specified period of time, such as an hour, at that production rate. You can expand your experiment by measuring for different types of pollution. For example, you can add columns for electrostatic discharge, sulfur dioxide and particles.

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