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Richmond Hill STEM students unveil solar/electric vehicle

POSTED: May 17, 2016 2:34 p.m.
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Richmond Hill STEM students (left side, back to front): Foster Reynolds, Greyson Cooke, Emma Hampe, Katie Fisher and (right side, back to front): Keenan Staat, Hailey Howard, Jeni Landers, Hailey Reeves, stand with the electric/solar dune buggy they unveiled Tuesday.

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Students in the Scientific Research III class at Richmond Hill High School unveiled their semester-long project Tuesday, which entailed converting a gas-powered go-kart to one powered by electricity via solar panels.

Students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class taught by Emma Fettes detailed their hours of research and work that went into the conversion, then gave a short demonstration outside the school.

The single-seat dune buggy was only able to run temporarily, but not because of the overcast sky.

“We ran into some technical problems with the controller and had to reduce the voltage from 48 to 36,” Fettes said. “Once we research and understand what is wrong with the 48-volt controller we will be able to fully set up the go-kart for solar power charging.”

Fettes said two of the students in the class, Foster Reynolds and Hailey Howard, plan to take the Research IV class next year and carry the project forward.

Fettes said the class is supported by a grant from Georgia Southern University. It also is supplemented with the help of local businesses: Coastal Electric, Personal Touch Collision, Plantation Lumber, RPI Roofing, Ward Auto Painting and Bodyworks and Touchstone Energy.

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