Kiosk ready to educate

Published 12:29 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

The newest exhibit at the North Carolina Estuarium will be “welcomed” at 11 a.m. Friday.

The Sprout Renewable Energy Kiosk, located outside the Estuarium, makes its official debut during the “welcoming” ceremony. About $12,500 in unused funds from the Main Street Energy Fund were used to install the kiosk, which is about 30 feet tall.

Strong winds Thursday morning had the blades of the wind turbine on the Sprout Renewable Energy Kiosk turning swiftly and the solar panels noticeably vibrating. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

The kiosk will be used to educate students about wind power and solar power. It includes solar panels, a wind turbine and weather station. It is designed to withstand winds up to 130 mph.

It was invented by a team of architects, boat-builders and engineers from eastern North Carolina, two of which live in Washington.

“The data generated from all three components serves an exhibit to educate students and the general public,” reads a city memorandum. “The integrated information appears on an intuitive dashboard to help connect weather to the renewable energy it can produce. The stand-alone kiosk is powered by its energy systems to go anywhere with minimal infrastructure coordination. The Sprout kiosk connects technology and information seamlessly transforming the process for learning about clean energy. The full size components are easy to see and Sprout displays real time data on its screen and through a web-interface to any location.”

The kiosk sponsors are PotashCorp Aurora, City of Washington, N.C. Public Power, N.C. State Energy Office and an anonymous donor. The kiosk is not associated with the proposed wind-farm project near Pantego, according to an Estuarium spokesman.

“At Sprout Energy, we recognize the tremendous need to demystify renewable energy and have it become more familiar in daily life. People are hearing a lot about clean energy, but not many have experienced it up close or can connect it to the weather around them,” reads a blog on the Sprout Energy Corp. website. “We know from our conversations with students and other passer(s)by that conversations about renewable energy often turns to a conversation about consumption and further energy efficiency. Those conversations are the ones that we hope will impact new energy choices.”

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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