Two Stepinac High School students — Julian Mueller of Tarrytown and Devlin Hose of Garrison — recently joined the prestigious finalist ranks in the 2020 GENIUS Olympiad’s international high school competition focused on environmental issues.
Their collaborative engineering project, a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) that operates more efficiently during powerful storms, will be represented at the 10th annual GENIUS Olympiad, to be hosted later this year by the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Stepinac juniors will be among 2,000 students from 78 countries whose creativity in eight categories—from science and robotics to music composition and short film—will be showcased.
After witnessing the effects of Hurricane Dorian last year, Mueller and Hose– who are members of Stepinac’s groundbreaking Honors Academy–decided to explore and develop a VAWT model that would do a better job of converting the wind’s kinetic energy into electrical energy during hurricane-force winds.
After engineering their prototype in Stepinac’s state-of-the-art classroom lab by integrating 3-D print printed parts and woodwork, the students conducted a number of tests to scientifically measure its performance. The design was stationary and rigid, allowing the incoming kinetic energy from every wind direction to be collected with minimized losses. As a result, their prototype proved to perform at a higher than normal efficiency factor and produced 20W energy, findings they reported as part of the application process in the rigorous GENIUS Olympiad competition.
Stefan Busheski, Stepinac computer science and engineering instructor, said: “From the turbine fin to the axel joints, Julian and Devlin turned their visionary engineering concepts into a reality,” adding: “We congratulate them on the college-level research and engineering talents they applied over the course of five months. In working so seamlessly together, they also epitomized Stepinac’s collaborative model that underpins our students’ solutions-based drive.”
GENIUS Olympiad promotes a global understanding of environmental issues and the achievement of sustainability through basic science, arts, creative writing, engineering, design, and business development. GENIUS Olympiad provides challenges and opportunities for secondary school students, to instill in them the skills and knowledge needed to be the citizens, leaders, scientists, artists, writers, engineers, and policy makers of the future—agents who will promote and contribute to greater environmental sustainability throughout their lives. GENIUS is also an abbreviation of Global Environmental Issues and Us.