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"Esperanza" Wins First Place at NYC Regional Competition Print E-mail
Future City Competition A total of thirty six teams consisting of seventh and eighth graders from middle schools in the metropolitan region competed in the New York City Regional Future City Competition on January 20, 2007. The event was held at Polytechnic University and also hosted by the ASCE Met Section. The winning team was "Esperanza" from Valley Middle School, Oakland, NJ. Students: Brandon Boccellari, Alec Carpenter and Jimmy Kilmek, Teacher: Judith Vihonski and Engineer Mentor: Mike McNally of McNally Engineers PC, Oakland, New Jersey.

The program invites the students to explore innovative and renewable energy resources and efficient transportation systems, and to make the best use of land development with the least environmental impact. In "Esperanza" the main sources of power are Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells, solar, tidal power, and wind power. In order to get the energy required to form the pure hydrogen needed to operate the fuel cells the students used renewable energy sources. You can see the details of their work as they describe the processes they use to power the city in the following excerpts from their essay...

"The residential zone is powered by Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Hydrogen is extracted from freshwater by electrolyzers. Under high pressure, hydrogen is then transported through pipelines into our Sustainable Utility Network (SUN) and stored in highcapacity single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs).

A key advantage to PEM fuel cells is their lack of harmful by-products. Hydrogen fuel cells use clean, renewable energy sources. The only by-products are heat and water which are creatively reused to improve our system and provide community needs.

The main disadvantage is that they need pure hydrogen. Converting water to a hydrogen energy carrier is energy intensive. This disadvantage is lessened in Esperanza because our electrolyzers are powered by natural, renewable energy sources, abundant in our locale. “Esperanza’ s energy sources are solar radiation, wind, and waves. Strategically-placed concentrated photovoltaic systems (CPV) convert solar radiation to electricity. Turbines that convert wind to electrical energy are positioned near the coastline. This is an optimal location because the ocean and natural thermal heating and cooling consistently produce wind. "Nodding-duck" platforms capitalize on the movement of ocean waves also creating electrical energy.

The electricity that powers Esperanza’ s electrolyzers is stored in ultracapacitors. Because ultracapacitors use pure carbon-nanotubes, they have superior energy storage and are extremely conductive for increased power output. The hydrogen extracted by the electrolyzers is stored in high-capacity SWCNTs.

All of Esperanza’s energy sources are renewable. Our energy feedstocks (solar radiation, wind, and waves) are all reoccurring natural phenomena which are not destroyed when their energy is harnessed."

Some other feature of their city that helped make them a success were their magnetic levitation transportation system, their floating bridge connecting their city in Cuba to Key West, their intravascular nanobots protecting their citizens health and their advanced telecommunications system. After winning the Regional Finals and $5000 renewable annual scholarships for each of the three students, Esperanza went on to compete against teams from across the nation during National Engineers Week in February.

At the National Level, the "Esperanza" team was awarded two special awards during the competition. The 1st award... "Protecting Public Health and Safety through Competent and Ethical Engineering Practices," sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the 2nd award "Best Indoor Environment" sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). For a detailed list of winning teams from around the Nation, see the National Future City Website. The Future City Competition Regional is the culmination of months of planning, designing and hard work by the all the students, teachers and volunteers involved with this program. We couldn't make this program a success without the more than 80 local engineers that volunteer to help with our program.

Special thanks go out to the New York City Regional Coordinator Mrs. Karen Armfield of ASCE Met Section and Dr. Noel Kriftcher of Polytechnic University's David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances. The continued support of this program from these organizations and the generosity of corporate sponsors from the engineering community allows hundreds of students each year the opportunity to experience the challenges of engineering first hand through a collaborative learning environment.

2007 Regional Competition Award and Prize Winners


First Place
"Esperanza"
Valley Middle School
Oakland, NJ
$5,000 Annual Student Scholarships


Third Place
"Super-Sub Aquus"
Great Neck South MS
Great Neck, NY
$1,000 Annual Student Scholarships


Fifth Place
"Springsun"
FMG Middle School
Springfield, NJ


Second Place
"Multiplex City"
Michelangelo MS 144
Bronx, NY
$2,000 Annual Student Scholarships


Fourth Place
"Juicy Couture"
Bacc. School for Global Education
Astoria, NY

2007 Special Award Winners and Sponsors

Most Environmentally Friendly City
Sponsor: AKRF, INC.
"Pleasantville"
Great Neck South MS - Great Neck, NY

Most Creative Use of Materials
Sponsor: HDR
"City of Angels"
I.S. 318 - Brooklyn NY

Best Infrastructure Layout
Sponsor: NYC TRANSIT
"Neo Geo"
Islip MS - Islip, NY

Most Futuristic Design
Sponsor: Parsons Brinckerhoff
"Evo"
Mott Hall School - Astoria, NY

Best Communication System
Sponsor: IEEE
"Snow White City"
Michelangelo MS 144 - Bronx, NY

People's Choice Award
Sponsor: ASCE Met Section
"Esperanza"
Valley Middle School - Oakland, NJ

Best Manufacturing Zone
Sponsor: Polytechnic University
"Erehwyna"
FMG Middle School - Springfield, NJ

Best Transportation System
Sponsor: Parsons
"Suphinetera"
Transfiguration Academy - New Milford, NJ

Most Innovative Power Generation System
Sponsor: DMJM+Harris
"Winthropia"
Winthrop IS 232 - Brooklyn, NY

Best Essay
Sponsor: ASCE Met Section
"Multiplex City"
Michelangelo MS 144 - Bronx, NY

Safest City
Sponsor: Langan Engineering & Environmental Serv.
"Messapotamia City"
Baccalaureate School for Global Education - Astoria, NY

Most Healthy Community
Sponsor: Con Edison
"M & M Panic!"
Michelangelo MS 144 - Bronx, NY

Best Residential Zone
Sponsor: ASCE Met Section
"Darton"
Ditmas IS 62 - Brooklyn, NY

Best Use of Fuel Cells
Sponsor: Arup
"Pitsnoggle"
William Annin MS - Basking Ridge, NJ

Best Zoning & Land Utilization
Sponsor: The Chazen Companies
"Deep South"
Mott Hall School - Astoria, NY

Best Conservation of Fossil Fuels
Sponsor: Hardesty & Hanover, LLP
"Europolis"
Brooklyn Amity School - Brooklyn, NY

 
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