HelioKids: Solar Energy Blender
During the 2016-17 school year, I had the pleasure of teaching an elementary school GATE program in Fallbrook, CA about solar energy.We covered some really cool topics like: how to make an electromagnetic train, how to make a solar cooker, how to make a solar water heater, and what is this stuff we call “Energy”?
For the final class, we wondered: what’s even better than thinking about energy? The answer: thinking about energy while eating ice cream! By May, it’s hot in Southern California, so, we cooled off with some homemade milkshakes. However, before any milkshakes were devoured, we had to do some math.
It's Milkshake Time!
How much Energy does the blender need to make milkshakes? What is the amount of power the blender needs to draw? How long will it take for my 3kW solar array to make that much Energy? After studying these topics for 5 class sessions, I was very impressed that the kids knew how to find the answers.
By looking at the nameplate of the blender, we determined the maximum power draw is 1,100 Watts or 1.1kW. After adding ice cream, milk, and chocolate sauce we turned on the blender and read the attached watt meter. With our measurements, the blender consumed only 500 watts while on high speed. If the blender ran for 1 minute, how many kWh’s were consumed?
The answer was straight forward. If the blender ran for 1 hour, it would use 500 Watt-hours aka 0.5kWh. Since a minute is 1/60 or 1.6% of an hour, we multiply 0.5kWh x 1.6% and find that the blender uses about 0.008kWh’s to blend the chocolate milkshakes. Now here’s the big question for the final exam: how much will energy will it take to make the vanilla shakes?
Our HelioKids program is a sponsorship by HelioPower to teach kids the basics of energy, solar power and electricity from industry experts. To learn more about our program, please visit our page here.