Turn Up The H.E.A.T – Solving the Energy Crisis

Etan Ginsberg, Staff Writer

Manoj Bhargava, founder of the humanitarian organization Billions in Change, once said, “There are seven billion of us in the world today. And we’re facing some huge problems, but talk doesn’t help someone out of poverty. Awareness doesn’t reduce pollution or grow food. Or heal the sick. That takes doing.”

3 billion people in the world lack electricity, 800 million go to bed hungry, 50,000 children die of poverty each day, and 1 in 9 people do not have access to clean water. While we revel in our wealth and happiness and our biggest concerns revolve around grades, college acceptance, and materialistic endeavors, much of the world struggles to survive.

At Witness Inspire Act (WIA), we are proud to reject the traditional model of orchestrating change through lengthy and watered-down projects that are often sponsored by giant companies and serve as a front for public image rather than true substance. We are part of a club that takes immediate action run and powered by students and their intrinsic motivation. WIA projects can be proposed by any student and are open to funding from the club treasury. One WIA project that is making a huge imprint on the school is the Harriton Energy Alternatives Lab (HEAT lab).

HEAT Lab is a student-run research incubator centered on the premise of building devices that use human power as a renewable energy source. The cardinal idea for this project came from Manoj Bhargava, the CEO of 5-Hour Energy with a 4 billion dollar net worth. After dropping out of Princeton, living in ashrams in India for 12 years, and dedicating 99% of his wealth to charity, Manoj founded Billions in Change, an organization aimed at tackling the three most pressing humanitarian problems. His film, which depicts an energy bike that generates electricity with zero pollution, inspired the premise of our project: harnessing human power as a sustainable renewable energy source.

HEAT lab began last year as a proposed individual student project in the AP Electricity and Magnetism class. However, this initiative has grown considerably, to the point where it received a $5000 LMSD grant and has been integrated into the yearlong physics curriculum of AP Electricity and Magnetism. The project was originally proposed by current senior Etan Ginsberg who took AP Electricity and Magnetism last year and is spearheaded by AP Electricity and Magnetism’s philanthropic and humanistic teacher, Mr. Imaizumi. Mr. I also sponsors WIA. Currently, there are several prototype designs for capturing human power that are being worked on. They range from an elevator to an erg machine to a hybrid bicycle to tiles that capture energy from walking to an experimental study of the piezoelectric effect.

Tackling the world’s problems requires all of us, as a community, to stand in solidarity. WIA and our Physics classroom are communities which welcome anyone onboard to join the fight. One billion changes start with one.

Stay tuned for more information as this project progresses.