Yes, it's Inventive! We are still alive and breathing! I (Trisha) have not gotten the time to post our regular updates due to AP testing, final projects, and other extracurricular activities. However, I have a lot of things to catch you up on!
On April 11, Chris Powers (owner of Houston Biodiesel) came into the junior Environmental Sustainability class to give a lecture and perform transesterification of Chipotle oil. He talked about the different chemical reactions that occur during titration (which our class performed the day before) and transesterification. He brought samples of biodiesel which we passed around and some students got to aid in the biodiesel making process. It was an interactive and compelling lecture, especially to the kids part of InvenTeam, as we are currently working on our biodiesel engine.
Speaking of engines, yesterday (April 25), we got to take apart the Cummins engine with wrenches, screwdrivers, flat heads, and our own bare hands. We really dug deep into the engine, looked at its parts, and got a better understanding of how everything goes together. Now all we have to do is understand how each part works and come up with how we will modify it. Our plan is to modify the engine so that an automated system will sense the car's surrounding temperature and switch from biodiesel to petrodiesel accordingly (when it's hot = biodiesel; when it's cold = petrodiesel).
Tomorrow, some InvenTeam members will be going on a field trip to the University of Houston to learn more about diesel engines. Other junior classmates will be attending, as an ongoing project during school pertains to the subject.
Will post more updates soon!
(Written by Trisha)
Currently, HISD uses B5 (Diesel with 5% Biodiesel) in most of its bust fleet. Research shows that B100 (100% Biodiesel) would reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, but as a fuel it tends to “gel” in colder temperatures and this can lead to engine malfunction. The EIHS InvenTeam is currently developing “The Slush Buster”, which would be an automated system for regulating fuel viscosity in any diesel vehicle. Our invention would facilitate the use of B100 in any climate, as the current, widespread solution is simply to reduce the blend of biodiesel if the weather gets cold. We hope that our invention can be used by buses in HISD, and eventually vehicles in all parts of the country!