Friday, July 28, 2006

Garrett Yazzie, Finalist - Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge

Garrett likes freestyle motocross racing, basketball, and fishing. He hopes to someday pursue a career as an environmental engineer, he says, because "I want to help my Navajo community develop better energy resources."

In Garrett's remote town, most people have only basic water and house heaters. They cut firewood from the forest or haul coal from a mine. Since few have electricity, Garrett wanted to explore using an alternative form of energy, solar heat. He made a solar heater from the radiator pried from a 1967 Pontiac and 64 aluminum cans spray-painted black. He measured the temperature of the air leaving the back of the heater and the water inside the radiator. In just an hour, the water temperature increased from 20 degrees Celsius to 94 degrees Celsius – almost boiling, and hot enough that Garrett could see steam. Garrett has done further work to combine this heater with a window heater to heat a room.