NMSU-sponsored competition encourages young students to think about renewable energy

Nov. 12, 2007 by Justin Bannister NMSU News Center

The next big idea in renewable energy could come from a group of teenagers. That is the idea behind Innoventure, a competition for high school and middle school students sponsored by New Mexico State University and New Mexico MESA.

More than 175 students from around the state are expected to meet in Las Cruces Dec. 10, from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Corbett Center Ballrooms at NMSU. There, teams of students will present their projects and be judged on various components, including general idea, feasibility and presentation. This year’s competition marks the largest number of teams ever to compete in New Mexico.

Innoventure encourages students to use science, engineering and business skills to solve problems. In this year’s competition, students are asked to devise a plan to use renewable energy to provide electricity to those without it in New Mexico.

“The competition bridges the ideas of entrepreneurship, technological innovation and engineering for young students who then recognize the strengths and versatility this can bring to any endeavor,” said Marie Haaland-Borchert, one of the event’s organizers.

She said many families in New Mexico living in colonias or Native American reservations do not have access to electricity. Without electricity many of these families cannot cook meals on a stove, heat their home or produce hot water.

Each team’s task is to identify an area of need in such a situation, and create a means to meet that need using a form of renewable energy in an innovative way. Renewable energy includes solar, wind, geothermal, water, and biomass. The ultimate goal is to improve quality of living for those families.

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