The month of February 2014 saw some interesting presentations. Michael Finley, Instructor, Pellissippi State Community College speaking on “The mathematics of sustainability” gave a sobering talk on sustainability. The example of deer overusing resources on an island and experiencing a population collapse is something that all humans need to heed. He said that for the cost of the Afganistan and Iraq wars we could put a solar panel on every house in the country.
Ted Wampler Jr.of Wampler’s Farm Sausage Company has descended from a long line of sausage makers but he has embraced modern technology.The collaboration between Wampler’s Farm and the Proton Power CHyP (Cellulose Hydrogen Power) System is impressive and it will benefit Wampler, Proton Power and the local farmers who produce switchgrass. Ted wants to be “off the grid” and right now Wamplers sometimes sells power and sometimes buys power. Wamplers has a large solar installation now and will soon be in commercial operation with their new Power CHyP (Cellulose
Hydrogen Power) System. Wamplers will not disclose the terms but they are currently operating the CHyP system like a pilot plant so Proton Power can get data for designing more and bigger plants.
Our final meeting in February was presented by LJ Robinson,FIRST Regional Director. She is a nurse who saw robot building as a valuable educational opportunity for kids and she did something about it. She described the FIRST Robotics Competition which is an annual event for high school students working along side professional mentors to design and build a robot. Teams will be given a parts kit including motors, batteries, and other components and are allowed to spend an additional $3,000 to create their robot. Student’s will then have 6 weeks to build the functioning robot to begin competitions.
FIRST Robotics is a very important and interesting program and there are opportunities for many people to make a contribution to the program.