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Research Log #1 - Solutionary Project 2020

Date: 2/5/2020
Name: Darian Wong
Essential Question: Is a per-house miniature rainwater turbine feasible?

Three Points to Prove: #1: It would be able to generate power


#2: Rain would be frequent enough to make such a system worthwhile
#3: It would be able to decrease the required energy from centralized sources

Point that this Source Proves: #1: It would be able to generate power

Excerpts (These should provide insight into the Point to Prove):

“In a nutshell, the Pluvia system… uses the stream of rainwater runoff from houses' rooftop rain
gutters to spin a microturbine in a cylindrical housing.” (Coxworth).
Further explanation describes the power-generation process by stating that “Electricity generated by
that turbine is used to charge 12-volt batteries, which can in turn be used to power LED lamps or other small
household appliances.” (Coxworth)
There are specific modifiable features to the overall concept: “… Once the water has flowed
throughout the microturbine, it proceeds to pass through a charcoal filter and into a storage tank, leaving it
‘equal to or cleaner than the water in the network supply system of Mexico City,” according to the students”
(Coxworth).

Analysis (How does this source support the Point to Prove?):

This article is one of several tech websites that have noted and described the invention known as the Pluvia.
According to reporter Ben Coxworth of technology journal Tech Atlas, “In a nutshell, the Pluvia system… uses the
stream of rainwater from houses’ rooftop rain gutters to spin a microturbine in a cylindrical housing.”. This product
seems to have created a solution within the aforementioned conditions approximately half a decade ago. Further
explanation describes the power-generation process with “Electricity generated that turbine is used to charge 12-volt
batteries, which can in turn be used to power LRD lamps or other small household appliances” (Coxworth).
There are specific modifiable features to the overall concept of the Pulvia however: “… Once the water has
flowed throughout the microturbine, it proceeds to pass through a charcoal filter and into a storage tank, leaving it
‘equal to or cleaner than the water in the network supply system of Mexico City,’ according to the students”
(Coxworth). Modifying the concept strictly for power generation (Hawaii already has decent water quality, while it
could probably be implemented later due to not interfering with important systems, rainwater filtration and collection
isn’t a necessary solution to the mentioned problem.
This article proves that the technology to support a system already exists and is capable to an extent of
marketability. The outdated time of publishing may also suggest that more advanced technologies may be available
now than was at the time of interest, though that requires other sources to confirm, though the existence of functional
technology is the largest and strongest point that this supports

Work Cited (correct MLA format):


Coxworth, Ben. “Rainwater Used to Generate Electricity.” New Atlas, 2 May 2015, newatlas.com/pluvia-
rainwater-microturbine/31379/

This is a reputable and reliable article because the provider/container has been around for nearly 2 decades and
claims to celebrate human endeavor, evolving from previous names to “better reflect what we do” as stated on their
about page. Each individual article has the journalist name and article publish date stated in common professional
standard, and cites sources used on their articles, the former of which leads to their bio page whose text is also posted
at the end of an article.
Research Log #2 - Solutionary Project 2020
Date: 2/13/2020
Name: Darian Wong
Essential Question: Is a per-house miniature rainwater turbine feasible?

Three Points to Prove: #1: It would be able to generate power


#2: Rain would be frequent enough to make such a system worthwhile
#3: It would be able to decrease the required energy from centralized sources

Point that this Source Proves: #2: Rain would be frequent enough to make such a system worthwhile

Excerpts (These should provide insight into the Point to Prove):


He hooks the audience with “electricity demand must be in constant balance with electricity supply”
However, he mentions a major application for the use advanced batteries: “With it, we could draw electricity
from the sun even when the sun doesn't shine. And that changes everything. Because then renewables such as wind
and solar come out from the wings, here to center stage.”

Analysis (How does this source support the Point to Prove?):


Professor and startup-founder Donald Sadoway warns that “electricity demand must be in constant
balance with electricity supply” in a TED talk in 2012 on a major problem for most renewable energy sources
like the rainwater turbinee. Essentially, a power-consuming object such as a power-tool usually requires a
power plant’s power on the spot. However, he mentions a major application for batteries in this regard: “With
it [batteries], we could draw electricity from the sun when the sun doesn’t shine. And that changes everything.
Because then renewables such as wind and solar come out from the wings, here to center stage”; batteries can
hold some of the power plant’s power and supply it to the power-consuming object without further input from
the plant.
This point weakens most concerns with the feasibility of rainwater turbines due to the unpredictability
of rain by proving that all power generated can be stored for even the times the weather isn’t rainy. As such, a
battery system and output dock would be necessary additions to the rainwater turbine project to maximize the
efficiency of the rainwater turbine.
While its unlikely that the rainwater turbine cannot power a home to a full extent, the utilization of
batteries can still reduce a house’s dependence on centralized (which in the context of Hawaii, is usually fossil
fuel-burning) power sources. Batteries also streamline this process by preserving more of the power generated
by rainwater turbines so that the power immediately not consumed isn’t wasted, so more power is available due
to not being wasted.

Work Cited (correct MLA format):


Sadoway, Donald. The Missing Link to Renewable Energy. TED.com, March 2012,
https://www.ted.com/talks/donald_sadoway_the_missing_link_to_renewable_energy?referrer=playlist-
the_end_of_oil&language=en

This is a reputable and reliable article because this TED talk was presented at an official TED conference posted on
the official TED website, leaving the author of the speech at the regulation of the commonly lauded TED
company/organization. This means that there is a decreased risk of false or biased information from sources not
directly affiliated with the TED company.

Research Log #3 - Solutionary Project 2020


Date: 2/20/2020
Name: Darian Wong
Essential Question: Is a per-house miniature rainwater turbine feasible?

Three Points to Prove: #1: It would be able to generate power


#2: Rain would be frequent enough to make such a system worthwhile
#3: It would be able to decrease the required energy from centralized sources

Point that this Source Proves: #1

Excerpts (These should provide insight into the Point to Prove):

The EIA’s explanation of the generation of electricity describes the concept of a generator by stating that “The
generator has a series of insulated coils of wire that form a stationary cylinder. This cylinder surrounds a rotary
electromagnetic shaft. When the electromagnetic shaft rotates, it induces a small electric current in each section of the
wire coil.”

They clarify turbines as machines that “converts the potential and kinetic energy of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) to
mechanical energy.”

It’s stated that “In a turbine generator, a moving fluid—such as water, steam, combustion gases, or air—pushes a series
of blades mounted on a shaft, which rotates the shaft connected to a generator. The generator, in turn, converts the
mechanical energy to electrical energy based on the relationship between magnetism and electricity."

Analysis (How does this source support the Point to Prove?):


While probably not proving that this project’s proposed rainwater generator will functionally generate power, it
further describes how generators and turbines work down to the extent of being easily understandable. The EIA, or the
U.S. Energy Information Administration, describes a generator as being a machine with “a series of insulated coils of wire
that form a stationary cylinder” and that “When the electromagnetic shaft [surrounded by the cylinder] rotates, it
generates a small electric current in each section of the wire coil”. It is found that turbines are a separate but often related
entity to the generator, as clarified by the EIA as a machine that “converts the potential and kinetic energy of a moving
fluid (liquid or gas) to mechanical [rotational] energy.”, and that “The generator, in turn, converts the mechanical energy
to electrical energy based on the relationship between magnetism and electricity”.
This description of how generators and turbines work essentially give a picture of how I can make a generator that
could probably generate power. Most of the materials or actions within this generator-turbine system do not seem to be
extraordinarily exotic or expensive to an average person like I, which implies that a power generation system is within
developmental feasibility. Because a turbine is simply a machine that rotates, and that the magnetic shaft needs to rotate
within the generator to generate electricity, all I need to generate power is to make the turbine rotate with the flow of water
I intend to use.
With this newfound knowledge I can probably build a prototype generator with the help of a few online guides
and/or the purchase of one over the internet and build a turbine to fit on it. I could start testing by rotating the shaft by
hand and determining the electric output via an electric measuring device to ensure it works, then design and build
prototype turbines to fit with the flow of water. These flows of water can probably be generated within a bathtub-shower,
and test subsequent prototypes, especially during times in which the weather is non-rainy.

Work Cited (correct MLA format):


U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis.” How Electricity Is
Generated - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),
www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/how-electricity-is-generated.php.
This is a reputable and reliable article because it is provided by a U.S. government source, as opposed to an
independent company or organization. This means that the information is most likely factual at least to the point of
common acceptance within the U.S. and U.S. based audiences. The U.S. government source is also dedicated to
administering information pertaining to energy, which grants relevance to the topic of energy generation.

Research Log #4 - Solutionary Project 2020


Date: 2/25/2019
Name: Darian Wong
Essential Question: Is a per-house mini rainwater turbine feasible?

Three Points to Prove: #1: It would be able to generate power


#2: Rain would be frequent enough to make such a system worthwhile
#3: It can feasibly be reproduced and installed

Point that this Source Proves: #3: It can feasibly be reproduced and installed

Excerpts (These should provide insight into the Point to Prove):


According to the results of their study, they were able to achieve success, stating that “Using estimates for Liberian rainfall rates,
our system could produce 2,664 Joules of energy in only a 30-minute rainstorm with a flow of 8 gallons per minute. This is enough
to charge a cellphone approximately 13%.”

The cost of the system was somewhat concerning: “Bearings, the shaft, and acrylic were bought in order to make the turbine
casing, amounting to $64.67. Based on estimates from Dr. Erica Stults, the material cost for 3D printing the 20 centimeter Pelton
wheel totaled to $75. The motor cost $12.95 from Sparkfun, and is sufficient for this application. The total cost of the system,
using the Pelton wheel, is $201.33”

“Based on the images of homes in Liberia, not all homes have gutters. Thus, we will assume the homes need gutter systems in our
cost analysis. These materials cost a total of $48.71”

“We recommend partnering with a non-profit organization to get funding for the low-income areas. Partner Liberia is an example
of an organization that helps bring green energy to low-income locations in Liberia (“Green Energy”).”

“Lastly, we realize that the amount of power that our system produces is very small, and will come at variable and unpredictable
times. Therefore, we recommend that research is done into the best energy storage for this system.”

Analysis (How does this source support the Point to Prove?):


This case study from Worcester Polytechnic Institute reflects on a much similar solution of utilizing rainwater to
produce electrical power, though in a less developed region such as Liberia. They utilized a 3-D printed Pelton wheel
turbine, which was optimized for lower water flows (like that estimated for rainwater), According to the results of their
study, they were able to achieve some success, stating that “Using estimates for Liberian rainfall rates, our system could
produce 2,664 joules of energy in only a 30-minute rainstorm with a flow of 8 gallons per minute”. This is enough to charge
a cellphone approximately 13%”.
The cost of the system was somewhat concerning: “Bearings, the shaft, and acrylic. . . The total cost of the system,
using the Pelton wheel, is $201.33” (“Energy Harvesting From Rainwater 90”), however the study also noted that “Based
on the images of homes in Liberia, not all homes have gutters. Thus, we will assume the homes need gutter systems. . .
These materials cost a total of $48.71”. Because most homes in Hawaii (Especially those expected for the build) are built
with gutters, the cost will be reduced to a (hand-calculated independently of the study) $152.62.
This study provides evidence that such a system exists and provides some information about how it is to build.
While most of the materials in use likely appear to be obtainable, the cost may warrant some assistance from an
organization or business to cover costs. As of now this information is yet to have been researched, but it presents potential
directions for the project as of now. It is also probable that materials such as 3-D printer filament could be obtainable
within the Maryknoll Engineering classes or Maryknoll Robotics club, proving a source of spare parts for construction.

Work Cited (correct MLA format):


Detora, Carolyn, et al. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, web.wpi.edu/Pubs/E-project/Available/E-project-
032118-144002/unrestricted/Rainwater_Energy_Harvesting_MQP_Final.pdf.

This is a reputable and reliable article because this is a case study from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a
legitimate college focused on technological developments. This study appears to have most of the components of a
professional paper, including names and formatting under a web PDF file ended with .edu.

Research Log #5 - Solutionary Project 2020


Date:
Name:
Essential Question:

Three Points to Prove: #1:


#2:
#3:

Point that this Source Proves: #

Excerpts (These should provide insight into the Point to Prove):

Analysis (How does this source support the Point to Prove?):

Work Cited (correct MLA format):

This is a reputable and reliable article because

Research Log #6 - Solutionary Project 2020


Date: 3/27/2020
Name: Darian Wong
Essential Question: Is a per-house mini rainwater turbine feasible?

Three Points to Prove: #1: It would be able to generate power


#2: Rain would be frequent enough to make such a system worthwhile
#3: It can feasibly be reproduced and installed

Point that this Source Proves: #2

Excerpts (These should provide insight into the Point to Prove):

The article states that “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, an original operator of the
dam when it was erected in the 1930s, wants to equip it with a $3 billion pipeline and a pump station
powered by solar and wind energy. The pump station, downstream, would help regulate the water flow
through the dam’s generators, sending water back to the top to help manage electricity at times of peak
demand.”

The article summarizes its introduction with “The net result would be a kind of energy storage”
comparable to “the giant lithium-ion batteries being developed to absorb and release power.”

This proposal is presented as a solution to the common problem within alternate energies: “Because
the sun does not always shine, and winds can be inconsistent, power companies look for ways to bank the
electricity generated from those sources for use when their output slacks off.”

Analysis (How does this source support the Point to Prove?):


This article by the New York times describes a project intended to counter the common
problem of alternative energies, most of which rely on specific phenomena to convert into energy:
converting the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead into a giant “battery” in function. This proposal is presented as a
solution to the common problem within alternate energies: “Because the sun does not always shine, and
winds can be inconsistent, power companies look for ways to bank the electricity generated from those
sources for use when their output slacks off.” This essentially reminds us that we will most likely require
some sort of way to store the energy produced by most alternate sources of energy, especially the rainwater
turbine which requires rainy weather to produce energy.
To describe the project, the article states that “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, an
original operator of the dam when it was erected in the 1930s, wants to equip it with a $3 billion pipeline and
a pump station powered by solar and wind energy. The pump station, downstream, would help regulate the
water flow through the dam’s generators, sending water back to the top to help manage electricity at times of
peak demand.” summarizing that “The net result would be a kind of energy storage” comparable to “the
giant lithium-ion batteries being developed to absorb and release power.” This essentially describes storing
the water in a way that when released can be moved into the turbine by gravity, serving as an alternative to
converting the water into electrical energy and storing them in batteries. Within the concept of the rainwater
turbine, a system of rainwater barrels could be placed between the gutter-downspout system and the turbine,
and when its power is needed the rainwater barrel system could be opened and the water could run through
the turbine to generate power.

Work Cited (correct MLA format): Penn, Ivan, et al. “The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant
Battery.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 July 2018,
www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/07/24/business/energy-environment/hoover-dam-renewable-
energy.html.
This is a reputable and reliable article because it is published by the New York Times, which according to
Mediabiasfactcheck.com is rated as having “High” factual reporting, failing only 2 fact checks in its well over 100
years of existence (of which was repeatedly referred to as “on Op-Ed’s and not straight reporting”) and is known
for hiring many well respected journalists and editors.