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Saving the Earth One Pedal at a time – Power to the people!

Four students from the Year 13 Hard Technology (Engineering) class, Ito Magbag, Philip Garcia, Gabby Mendoza and Sage Fernandez, entered their project into a one-day expo at the Vodafone Centre, called TIAKI – guardians of the environment, guardians of Aoeteora. The TIAKI ‘Sink or Swim’ programme aims to engage secondary school students of South Auckland in developing innovative ideas that will sustain, maintain and develop the NZ environment.

Our concept consisted of exercise stations that will generate electricity through human locomotion. Through education, interaction and exercise, our plan was to engage people of any age. Our first prototype was a bike that spun the car engine fan (the generator). As you pedal, power is generated which recharges a car battery that can be further used to charge phones and power home appliances. Our group heavily focused upon the renewal sustainability of our source of energy. Our whole project outcome was fabricated using recycled materials. i.e. the platfrom was made from recycled pallets, the bike was recycled and the generator is a fan pulled out of a dismantled BMW!
Who thought saving the earth could be such fun as that which the students visiting the expo experienced! The students couldn’t wait to jump on the exercise station! We were inundated with students and business people who wanted to try our interactive exercise station and learn about renewable energy and how it can be used to power our everday electronics. More than our exercise station, we also presented them our second prototype that we have been working on. It is a surfboard generator! The judges were impressed and thought of various ideas of how we could implement our ideas.
The one-day expo showcased many more projects from three other schools from South Auckland in collaboration with business companies. Manurewa High School (Girls) and Rongomai Primary School competed against each other partnered by Aeroqual to find ways to reduce CO2 in the classroom using natural organisms. Manurewa High School (Boys) entered a cost-effective extractor fan that can be used in homes to prevent moulding and was also partnered by Aeroqual. Aorere College’s project with Opus was a vertical garden optimising space and food production.
A take out of this experience from our very own Sancta Maria College is that we were able to address and create an innovative solution to a community-based or even country-based problem about renewable sources of energy, further immersing ourselves in the future world of engineering. We were privileged to be able to talk to and get expert feedback from engineers and be able to know what it is like being an engineer. At the same time we became more and more aware of the importance of caring for our own planet Earth. Join the TIAKI programme next year, be a leader and set an example in caring for the environment!
It was an inspiring project and event and we can see our career paths leading towards becoming future engineers.
Special Thanks to Dr Henderson (Teacher), Mr Boyle, Mr Shirtcliffe, Matt Peacock (Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Limited), Mike Stevens (Transpower), Matthew Ye (Transpower) for the help we needed.