Annex A - Group Research Proposal

Group Project Proposal (Engineering)
Names: Ryan Ng, Daryl Puan, Reese Huang
Class: S2-03
Group Reference : D  

1.    Indicate the type of research that you are adopting:

[        ] Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research
e.g. Investigation of the anti-bacteria effect of chrysanthemum

[         ] Measure a value: Experimental research (I)
e.g. Determination of the mass of Jupiter using planetary photography

[         ] Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)
e.g. Investigation of the effect of temperature on the growth of crystals

[         ] Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics
e.g. Modeling of the cooling curve of naphthalene

[         ] Observational and exploratory research
e.g. Investigation of the soil quality in School of Science and Technology, Singapore  

[    X   ] Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research
e.g. Development of a SMART and GREEN energy system for households  

2.    Write a research proposal of your interested topic in the following format:


A.    Problem being addressed
Have you ever wondered how electricity is being generated in your own home? All the costs and complications that come with it? Well, in rural areas across the world, the people are not as privileged as us. They are not exposed to the luxury of heated floors, warm showers and hot water for cooking. Electricity is hard to come by in many parts of the world, and just because some of us have it, we should still take into consideration those who don’t. By coming up with a hydro-generator, it would not only improve the lives of the less fortunate, but improve the living conditions of people all around the world.

We want to construct a hydroelectric system in which will reduce the costs of utility bills. This would make lives easier for everyone and this idea could then be shared around the world for people to implement it into their households and even public sanitary systems to reduce the usage of electricity both in rural and rich countries or states.

Specific Requirements
- Have stable water source to supply the hydro generator
- Simple to construct with given materials and items
- Indoors with ceiling for light bulb/LED
- ‘Cheap’ materials
- Regular usage of hydro generator
- Water pressure

Alternative Solutions :   

Solar generated electricity
Solar power is commonly used on Earth, many companies use it to save costs on electrical bills, even just to power simple lamps.

Using this method of generating electricity would be good for many rural areas as there is a lot of sunlight that reaches those regions. If we were to use this, the advantages would be that it would generate electricity even if there is no one to operate it and that solar panels can last a long time. However, the cost for a solar panel can cost an average of USD$1000.This makes it hard for people in rural areas to pay for the solar panels.

How it works :
When photons reach the surface of the solar panel, it separates the electrons and the holes from each other, and when the electrons and holes meet at the junction, the energy from the photons in the light rays are converted into electrical energy.

With winds coming from all over the world, wind turbines is actually a good idea, as long as wind is present, electricity is generated and it can power light bulbs and if the turbines are much bigger, even power houses.

Wind is an effective source of electricity in many countries due to it being a free resource with turbines coming in many different sizes and voltages. However wind turbines require high wind speeds and huge amount of land space. Maintenance is also costly and no buildings can be built around them as it may block the wind needed to spin the turbines.

A 10 kilowatt machine (the size needed to power a large home) might have an installed cost of $50,000-$80,000 (or more) depending on the tower type, height, and the cost of installation

Wind turbines operate on a simple principle. The energy in the wind turns two or three propeller like blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity. Wind turbines are mounted on a tower to capture more energy.

Hydro-electricity is defined by electricity being harvested from moving water. There are usually two methods, using spinning turbines (flowing) and the gravitational force of falling water.

This method of energy generation has it’s advantages as costs are relatively low. This would be idealistic for the project as it will be cheaper to install. It is a flexible source of energy as the amount produced can be tweaked whenever needed. No direct waste would be produced, lessening the effects as compared to fossil fuel powered hydro-electric energy plants.

We can make use of turbines and the flow of water instead, which requires less space and does not hurt our environment. Turbines and generators would have to be put in place and fitted to our water generating systems.

Best Solution
Hydro electricity has been chosen as installation is easy, maintenance can be easily done, the space needed is not large and it can be used in most households around the world. We did not choose the other 2 solutions as both rely on natural phenomenons like the sun and wind, which limits where the solutions can be used in.

For example, places in the equatorial region like Singapore would not have much sunlight for solar panels to operate. Places like New York City does not have enough space for wind turbine which makes wind turbines in those areas practically useless.

However, hydro-generators can be put in places like these, as long as there is someone to use taps and even flushing toilets will allow the hydro generators running. We have also chosen this solution due to the low costs of the hydro generators. The user can save up to $3.60 per day. Hydro generators are also cheaper than solar panels and wind turbines, making it more affordable for poorer countries such as Africa.

C.    Description in detail of method or procedures (The following are important and key items that should be included when formulating ANY AND ALL research plans.)

Equipment list:
Overall system: 
1.Wooden Box (70cm X 70cm X 72cm) x1
2.Hydro Generator (3.6V) x4
3.Hot Glue Gun x1

Water system:
1.Rubber Pipes (Diameter) (6 meter length)
2.Shower Head

Electrical system:
1. Solid Wires x10m
2. Batteries(3.6v) x2
3. LED Lights x5
4. Wire connectors x15
5.Staple Gun x1

Figure 1.1 (Front view of box)

Figure 1.2 (Close up of right half of the inside of the box)

Figure 1.3 (Close up of left half of the inside of the box)

1.4 (Top view of the box)

1.5 (Right Side View of the box)

1.6 (Left Side View of the box)

 Figure 2.1

Figure 2.2

Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design to be used for data collection
1.Drill 3 holes of diameter  1.5 cm  on the top of the wooden box, 2 close to the corners and 1 opposite of them.

2.Drill 1 hole of the the same diameter of 1.5cm   on the right side of the opening, 15 cm away from the left and  45cm from the bottom. 

3. Drill open 2 holes of  diameter 3cm on the left and right sides of the opening. On the left, drill it at  21 cm from the left and  12 cm from the top. On the right, drill it at 12 cm from the left and 30 cm from the bottom

4. Stick Velcro inside of the box, on all 3 sides:left, middle, right. On the left, stick the velcro 0.5 cm apart horizontally as the battery holders. On the middle side, stick 10 cm from the right and 33 cm from the bottom, stick the other 5 cm  from the right and  3 cm from the bottom, 1 for the hydro generator and 1 for the “toilet”. On the right side, stick 1 7 cm from the left and 3 cm from the bottom, stick the other 8 cm  from the right and 5 from the top. On the top of the box, stick 2 more velcro,3 cm from each other.

5. Take a container(opening facing the bottom), and cut a hole so as to fit a smaller one into it in the middle.Cut another hole of 2 cm by 2 cm on the bottom of one of the sides as the opening for the pipe.Drill a hole of diameter 1.5 cm to make the “toilet”.

6. Hot glue the containers together and place velcro on 2 adjacent sides. 

7.On all 4 of the hydro generators, stick the velcro on each of them so they can stay on the sides easier. 

8.Hot Glue the shower head when its in the 3 cm diameter hole thats on the left side of the box. 

9. How glue the tap when its in the 3 cm diameter hole thats was drilled on the right side of the box. 

10. Connect a rubber pipe of  35 cm to the output of 1 hydro generator and a pipe of 105 cm to the input of it, then put the input pipe from inside of the box through the hole on the of the box which is closest to the opening.Fit the output pipe through the hole of 1.5 cm diameter on the right side of the box from inside to the outside of the box.Make sure the velcro on the hydro generator and the one on the wall are touching. Then connect the pipe to the tap from the outside which would be below it.

11. Connect a rubber pipe of  length  to the hole in the smaller container of the “toilet”and make sure it goes out of the hole of 2 cm by 2 cm on the side.

12. Connect a rubber pipe of  25 cm in length to the output of 1 of the other hydro generators and another of 120 cm in length to the input. Stick the velcro on the hydro generator to the higher one on the middle side inside of the box.Ensure that the input pipe goes to through the other hole thats in the corner from inside to the outside of the box. Leaving the last hole which was not in the corner on the top of the box open. 

13. Cut a pipe of  8 cm and connect 1 end of it to the output of 1 of the 2 remaining hydro generators and connect the other end to the input of the last hydro generator. Place the hydro generators onto the top of the box.  Cut at pipe of 30 cm and connect it from the output of the last hydro generator to the shower head from the outside. Connect a pipe of 100 cm in length to the input to the first of the last 2 hydro generators. Make sure that both velcro on the hydro generators are stuck with the 2 on the top of the box. 

14. Take the “toilet” and connect it to the corner of the middle and right wall on the inside of the box using the velcro. Then connect the output pipe from the second hydro generator mentioned to the pipe in the “toilet” using a pipe connector.

15. Using a staple gun, connect the wires along the sides of the box so as to keep the wires as far away from the water as possible and helps when connecting the circuit together. 

16. Use wire connectors to connect all 4 positive and negative wires from the 4 hydro generators together.

17. Solder the wires to the switch and and use wire connectors so the circuit would be as shown in figures 2.1 and 2.2.

• Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions to be taken.

When using the soldering iron, we risk scalding ourselves as the soldering iron is hot so as to melt the solder, we may also risk setting the box on fire. When using the glue gun, we also risk getting scalded as it needs high heat to function or even burns due to the hot glue itself. Drilling into the box causes saw dust to be in the area, which can enter out eyes and irritate them.
As our project uses electricity and water, we may be electrocuted if not handled properly. 

When using the soldering iron and the glue gun, we will use gloves as an extra precaution and practice safe usage. When not in use, put the soldering iron in its holder and turn of the glue gun and soldering iron when not needed. When soldering, keep wood materials away as the heat may cause them to set on fire and our box is made of wood. When drilling, we will wear safety goggles to prevent irritation of our eyes also put the box on a stable surface so drilling the box would be safer, faster and have a lesser risk of damaging any property. We will sweep away any saw dust collected and dispose fast to prevent it from going into the air. When using the electrical circuit and when building, we will keep the wires away from the water and make sure no electrical appliances are in contact with water. 

Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer research questions or hypotheses

After construction, we will start testing if the system works by having an empty battery and one with some charge in it. We will be able to see if the empty battery charges as while the LED bulbs are lit up by the second battery, the first one would be charging when water is flowing through the any of the hydro generators, testing the “toilet”, tap and shower individually to make sure they all can charge the battery. 

We will also test if the system can charge the batteries and the charge in them do no disappear, we will charge the batteries using the system and connect each of them to a Volt sensor, both connected to a data logger which will plot a graph on how the Voltage had changed in the battery. 

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