At Ecotech Institute, we take pride in training the next generation of clean sustainable and renewable energy experts for this rapidly developing industry. We believe that the future belongs to renewable energy. But it also belongs to our children. And so, we think that it is never too early to start educating our children and helping them understand how we generate and consume electricity, and how renewable energy can help solve many of our energy and environmental problems.
Recently, we were excited to welcome a group of students from the Denver Jewish Day School who visited our campus with a mission — to learn more about renewable energy and what it takes to become an expert in the field.
Ecotech Institute’s Academic Dean Brian Dyk led the tour through the school. With the help from our program directors, who performed various demonstrations and activities in the classroom, the students got an exclusive behind the scenes look at the training and educational process at Ecotech Institute.
Our Electrical Engineering Program Director Don Smith showed the students how to measure electricity currents and the math behind using electricity.
The inquisitive students marveled at the technology and asked numerous questions, as Ecotech Institute’s Program Director for Wind Energy Technology Auston Van Slyke explained the inner workings of a car-sized wind turbine training system.
The students were especially excited to watch a live climbing demonstration. The action took place at Ecotech Institute’s indoor tower, which was designed to train future wind techs to climb real-world wind turbines.
Bubbling with excitement, the delegation moved outside for yet another live demonstration performed by Ecotech Institute’s Solar Program Director Chris Janin. The students learned how regular sunlight can be used to provide energy to our homes with the help of solar panels.
For this demonstration, the Ecotech Institute team deployed a very special device code-named the “Solar Cooker”. Using the Solar Cooker, Janin and Dyk showed the kids how the power of the sun can be used in practical ways (like cooking food).
One of the most fun-filled parts of the tour was game time, when the students were assigned the roles of photons (representing solar light) and photovoltaic cells (representing a solar panel) to demonstrate how electricity is generated within a solar panel.
The group of students that played the role of photons then had to travel to the photovoltaic cells group where they were converted into electrons (another group of students) to produce energy.
“We had a ton of fun showing the students the labs, teaching them about wind and solar energy and how they can be used, and playing games,” said Cassie Mullin, Ecotech Institute’s student services coordinator.
Tour leader Dyk added, “We really had a blast! These kids are so smart. I was really surprised to find out how much they already know about energy and the ways in which renewables are being used. The students asked lots of questions about the costs of renewables and renewable energy storage. They were also interested to learn about all of the ways that renewable energy storage is being developed and how this innovation in technology has made the cost of renewables much more affordable, especially when compared to that of fossil fuels. It was really great partnering with the Denver Jewish Day School for this exciting event, and we are looking forward to more educational events like this in the future.”