Imagine Tomorrow

2014 Competition Participants

STEM High School
Redmond, WA

8 teams competing



How can a city become sustainable without overhauling existing infrastructure?

By focusing on four key issues in cities, the project will design novel blueprints and technologies to be used in the development of specialized buildings that produce energy, grow food, clean water, and improve residential life.

Reimagining the Electric Car


How can the electric car be made more energy efficient and more appealing in the eyes of consumers?

Our project seeks to improve the efficiency of the electric car while also fighting to overturn its negative public perception. In order to achieve this, we are taking a comprehensive, innovative approach that encompasses a number of different aspects. Experiments with be run on novel motor systems designs to increase the range of the electric vehicle, research will be conducted on improving the chemistry within the car’s battery to optimize performance, and evidence will be gathered to debunk popular negative misconceptions. This evidence will then be publicized in an outreach program to improve the electric car’s image.

Aquifer Education


How can we design an educational campaign to raise awareness about the Aquifer situated under our school for the surrounding community?

The goal of this project is to educate the community about the aquifer and its limits of water cleaning and fresh water sourcing. We have designed large posters to be hung up outside of our school; an educational curriculum has been set up that we will bring to several elementary schools in the area as well as informing the surrounding community through presentations, flyers and bulletin boards about the aquifer and its importance. We will also be relating this to how you can save water and how Aquifer water cleaning saves carbon from being released in the atmosphere in comparison to other cleaning methods such as Desalination.

Project Sustain: Designing Games that Engage Players in Sustainability


Can we design a game that will effectively convey the approaches to, reasons for, and overall goals of sustainable design in cities?

Two games were created: a board game, and a video game. Both challenge players to develop a city using sustainable techniques (such as renewable energy, smart building practices, and effective layout) to maximize the happiness of their people, elevate the social and economic status of their city, and balance their budget without compromising environmental quality. Factors such as efficiency of energy technologies, population growth curves, and environmental impacts were researched beforehand and incorporated into game mechanics in order to create as realistic of a game experience as possible. Both games were tested with focus groups of students of various ages. Participants were surveyed before and after playing the game about their knowledge of and opinions toward various sustainable design practices.

Solar Light Tower


Is it possible to redesign a light tower to be a sustainable, cost efficient, energy efficient, ecofriendly device that provides light as well as energy?

To redesign current diesel powered light towers to be a competitive solar powered light tower we have created two different concept ideas. Each takes into account several factors, one is designed to be more versatile, and one the most cost effective. For the two concepts we have synthesized the specifications for the machines, including but not limited to: a bill of materials, solar panel calculations, circuit diagrams, information regarding specific parts, as well as original brainstorm. From this we can say we have created a sustainable, cost efficient, energy efficient, ecofriendly solar light tower that provides light as well as energy.

Step on Carbon


What different technological aspects can be modified/improved to make escalators and elevators more efficient?

We will research different technological components of escalators and elevators to find out which mechanisms contribute to high energy consumption and carbon emissions. Then we will consider new ways to help improve these technological designs. To calculate the environmental impact the new technology can have (energy savings) we will visit local malls where escalators and elevators are used frequently and use this data to find out how much energy is saved.

Determining the Monetary Value of Conserved Recreational Areas versus the Abeyant Value of Unprotected Ecosystems


What are the values of the ecosystem services in both protected and unprotected land in Redmond?

To conduct this experiment, we first walked Marymoor park in Redmond so we could recognize ecosystems more easily. Then, we mapped out mid-growth forests, wetlands, and grasslands in parks and unprotected areas on GIS software.

Cellulosic Ethanol: A New Look at the Transition to Renewable Energy


Will genetically modified yeast be able to make cellulosic ethanol more economical and efficient by allowing for a wider range of materials to be converted to cellulosic ethanol?

In order to answer this question, we will be genetically modifying yeast with a gene from the fungus T. reesei. Our hope is that if our experiment is successful that our modified yeast strain will produce and excrete the enzyme cellulase. The cellulase will hydrolyze cellulose and produce glucose as a byproduct. The glucose will then be consumed by the yeast, which will excrete ethanol as a byproduct. What this will allow us to do is feed our modified yeast strain any biomass that has a cellulose structure and attain ethanol as a result. Our modified yeast strain will cut almost all of the steps in the current process of manufacturing cellulosic ethanol creating a cheaper more efficient process to create cellulosic ethanol.

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