FRONT ROYAL, VA- They say hard work pays off and some engineering students at
"Any free moment we have, we're researching, coming into the room, coming in on Sundays," says Ben Gillis, a junior at Randolph-Macon.
A group of engineering students called "The Greeners" have been spending countless hours for months working on what they call the "electro-bike."
"The bike generates electricity while they ride it," says Grace Alexander, a junior who came up with the idea. "They could either charge their iphone, ipad, or anything they wanted with the bike," she says. "If they don't use the electricity, it would go back into the grid when they return the bike."
The students are using piezoelectricity to power the bike. By putting crystals under pressure they can create electric currents that can also stored as energy, up to 25 watts.
"We're just working on a way to make the world a better place," says team member John Moore. "You can ride a bike to work and while you're riding your bike you can not only become healthier and help the planet, you can help the electrical grid and the energy output of the whole city in a positive way."
Their passion for green energy is taking the students to the national stage. In April, they will travel to
"They're all experts in their field, so they're going to know quite a bit," says team member Ben Gillis, who attended the competition last year. "We have to really be on top of our game to impress them," he adds.
The grand prize will be a $10,000 award to help the winning project progress.
Randolph-Macon started with six teams this year and "The Greeners" are the finalists heading to the national competition.
"There were about 250 teams this year, of which we are one of five in the finals for our category," says Engineering teacher and team coach David Gillis. "There's 20 final teams, so we're pretty excited."
Their business plan is to rent the bikes in different cities, in a bike share program. They are currently working on a patent for the model. They have a few more weeks to iron out the details before the big competition.
You can help the team by donating to the project by clicking here. Designate that you want your gift to go towards, "The Greeners." The competition begins April 10th.