Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • Icon for: Nick Ruktanonchai

    Nick Ruktanonchai

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 09:38 a.m.

    Interesting proposal! Certainly relevant with smartphones becoming so popular! Do you have any thoughts on how much energy this method could potentially conserve, perhaps on a per-phone basis, or nationwide?

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:41 a.m.

    Dear Nick Ruktanonchai,

    The best way to predict how much energy my product could preserve would be to run a product test. However because this is a hypothetical product at this point that information won’t be available.
    I can provide rough estimates based off of some research I found. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, “the average cell phone charger uses 3.68 watts of power while it is charging and an average of 0.26 watts when it is plugged in but not on.” According to Forbes “If you fully drain and recharge your phone everyday, then over a year you would have to feed it about 2,000 watt hours, or 2 kWh.”
    By 2018 there will be 220 million smart phone users nationwide. With this information I can predict that even if only 20% of smart phone users in the United States had the Charge-A-Tron it will save approximately 88 billion watt hours, or 88 million kWh. This is a significant impact. I hope this sufficiently answered your question.
    By the way you have a pretty sweet last name!

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 10:14 a.m.

    Great idea, Callie. In your paper, you say that this idea stands out because it’s “feasible, realistic, and extremely cost-efficient.” What makes you think so? And do you know of any current or new technologies that your idea would build on to make your vision a reality? Has anyone else tried such a thing, to your knowledge?

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 01:24 p.m.

    Dear Brian Drayton,
    If I had the opportunity to bring my product to consumers I would be doing so with the intention to reduce greenhouse gasses unlike most other charging docks on the market. I say it’s “feasible, realistic, and extremely cost-efficient.” because unlike other charging dock companies my main focus is not the profit I will make. All money being made will filter back into the company to make more docks. It is feasible because my goal is getting the cost as low as possible. This allows more consumers to buy and helping it stand out from other docks. It is realistic because it is relevant with the time and the number of possible consumers is growing every year. It also will not be as expensive or difficult to produce as some of the other competitors products are. It is extremely cost efficient because not only will the product be cheaper than most charging docks on the market today but it will continue to save money by reducing electrical bills.

    There are solar paneled chargers on the market that I used to base my idea on. My product differs from the others because it is intended for being a primary charging source while other products currently on the market are intended to be portable. The other chargers are supposed to be used in situations like camping, where you have no other option. Mine is supposed to be used everyday anywhere. My product really expands the market.

    Thank you for your questions.

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 10:14 a.m.

    Great idea, Callie. In your paper, you say that this idea stands out because it’s “feasible, realistic, and extremely cost-efficient.” What makes you think so? And do you know of any current or new technologies that your idea would build on to make your vision a reality? Has anyone else tried such a thing, to your knowledge?

  • Icon for: Kate Skog

    Kate Skog

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 09:06 p.m.

    Very interesting idea. I’d like to follow up on Brian’s question. You mentioned in your response that your charger would be better because it is a primary charging source instead of a portable charging station. How would you adapt the station so that it would be better than a portable station? What specifically would those differences allow your charging station to accomplish that the portable stations cannot?
    Also, other than reducing potential energy use, are there other reasons to have the charging station stop charging when the battery is full? Since you are using an abundant renewable energy source, how does stopping help reduce greenhouse gases or other pollution?

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 02:48 p.m.

    While creating the Charge-A-Tron my goal was to make a product better than any other solar powered charger on the market. While doing my research I found a similar trait among the solar powered chargers available and that is they are all portable. Portable chargers just aren’t convenient or practical for long term use when compared to a stationary dock. I wanted to really emphasize that the Charge-A-Tron was stationary to encourage using solar charging docks regularly. The majority of people don’t use solar powered chargers as an everyday charger because the ones available now are intended to be used only outside. Most solar powered chargers are not capable of charging phone batteries fully especially not day after day because they don’t have a battery bank like the Charge-A-Tron. Some solar powered chargers have to be put out in the sun at a certain angle for hours to build up enough energy for a charge while others have to be plugged in an outlet to receive a full charge which completely defeats the purpose. Overall portable chargers just aren’t as durable. I have reinvented the of solar powered charger.

    My product stops at full charge to conserve the solar energy stored in the battery bank. During the day the solar energy will be storing away electricity to be used at any time. During the night time or stormy days where there isn’t sufficient energy from the sun to power the charging dock having energy from the battery bank is essential.

  • Icon for: Sergey Stavisky

    Sergey Stavisky

    Judge
    June 9, 2015 | 12:50 a.m.

    Good idea, Callie, and a well defined problem and motivation for solving it. My question relates to how you quantify the need (and potential savings) of your Charge-A-Tron: can you research, even approximately, how much electricity cell phones actually consume specifically when they are fully charged but still plugged in?
    Alternatively, if this information is hard to find, can you estimate what fraction of the time a phone is likely to be plugged in but fully charged? Let’s assume people plug in only overnight while they’re sleeping and that their phone is close to empty when they go to bed at the end of each day.

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 04:52 p.m.

    Thank you, I was definitely motivated to help with this relevant problem. As a teen I’m on my phone practically 24/7 so I really wanted to focus on something I could relate to as well as millions of other Americans.

    I have done research and I have information to answer your question on “how much electricity cell phones actually consume specifically when they are fully charged but still plugged in”. Here are my findings:

    “According to measurements from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average cell phone draws 3.68 watts of power from the outlet while it’s charging and 2.24 watts when charged. Let’s take the worst-case scenario and assume that you’re over-juicing a charged battery for the entire night. Leave the average phone plugged in for eight unnecessary hours, and it’ll use about 0.018 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Do that every night for a week, and the figure rises to 0.13 kWh; every night for a year, and you’re looking at a grand total of 6.5 kWh of electricity.”

    In 2013 there were approximately 144,500,000 American cell phone users. So if the Charge-A-Tron were available in 2013 and if only 20% of cell phone users in America used it I estimate 187,850,000 kWh would be saved entirely from useless energy being transferred when the phone is fully charged. In comparison, in 2013 the average annual electricity consumption for a household in America was 10,908 kWh, so with the saved 187,850,000 kWh it could power approximately 17,221 homes.
  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion

  • Icon for: Matthew Feng

    Matthew Feng

    June 8, 2015 | 09:15 p.m.

    This is a fantastic idea, but many chargers already have this functionality. Many chargers employ trickle-charging, which slows the amount of electricity taken into the battery, preventing wasted electricity. Other devices have been created to prevent vampire power, which is indeed a waste of energy. Are there any modifications to your idea which could expand the appeal of the product and therefore the extent of its implementation? I think you idea is both intelligent and useful.

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 10:55 a.m.

    Thank you for your input Matthew. You are correct that similar technology is out there. In fact when creating the Charge-A-Tron I basically took a few existing products and put them together. By combining a stationary charging dock, the use of solar energy, and implementing a component that stops useless energy being transferred, I have completely innovated the phone charger. You can’t find a product on the market like the Charge-A-Tron, to my knowledge. If I had the opportunity to actually produce the Charge-A-Tron the main selling features to the consumer would be its design and economical benefits. I hope I sufficiently answered your question.

  • Icon for: Matthew Feng

    Matthew Feng

    June 11, 2015 | 05:40 p.m.

    True, a product like this does not yet exist on the market. How much energy do you expect the solar panel to produce? What size will the panel need to be, if it is to produce a non-negligible amount of energy?

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 11, 2015 | 10:41 p.m.

    A solar panel approximately five inches long and two inches wide will have a battery bank capacity
    of 2,000 mAh. This will charge at about the same speed as a standard outlet charger. The Charge-A-Tron will be able to charge efficiently with a solar panel about the size of an Iphone 4.

  • Icon for: Harshal Shah

    Harshal Shah

    June 8, 2015 | 09:59 p.m.

    This idea is very useful. What do you predict the impact of this innovation to be, in terms of the amount of electricity saved and the amount of emissions reduced? Also, a major appeal of many chargers is their speed, which offers their user more convenience. Considering this is a solar powered charger, how do you expect the convenience of this charger to compare to conventional chargers? If a solar panel is being used to power this device, what is the need for stopping the flow of electricity after the charger is full? Would it be more advantageous to divert this power to another device?

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 9, 2015 | 11:10 a.m.

    The best way to predict how much energy my product could preserve would be to run a product test. However because this is a hypothetical product at this point that information won’t be available.
    I can provide rough estimates based off of some research I found. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, “the average cell phone charger uses 3.68 watts of power while it is charging and an average of 0.26 watts when it is plugged in but not on.” According to Forbes “If you fully drain and recharge your phone everyday, then over a year you would have to feed it about 2,000 watt hours, or 2 kWh.”
    By 2018 there will be 220 million smart phone users nationwide. With this information I can predict that even if only 20% of smart phone users in the United States had the Charge-A-Tron it will save approximately 88 billion watt hours, or 88 million kWh. This is a significant impact.

    Speed is an important feature while purchasing a charger. However this is not an issue that the Charge-A-Tron faces because there is always energy from the battery bank to keep it running correctly.
    My product stops at full charge to conserve the solar energy stored in the battery bank. During the day the solar energy will be storing away electricity to be used at any time. During the night time or stormy days where there isn’t sufficient energy from the sun to power the charging dock having energy from the battery bank is essential.
    The Charge-A-Tron is very convenient to the user because it doesn’t have to be plugged in or require batteries unlike many other products on the market today.

    I hope this answers your questions.

  • Icon for: Divya Gandla

    Divya Gandla

    June 10, 2015 | 08:55 p.m.

    This is definitely an attractive solution. However, if a person is charging their phone indoors, how will the solar energy reach the docking station? Is the Charge-A-Tron constrained to be positioned near a window? Also, what is the advantage of utilizing this product instead of a pre-existing energy conserving charging cable in conjunction with other sources of green energy such as solar panels? I realize the cost of this product would be much less than the cost of installing solar panels, but in the long-run I feel that utilizing green energy for all household activities would be the most effective.

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 10, 2015 | 10:51 p.m.

    You are correct that having an indoor solar panel will face some difficulties. For the best outcome and quickest charge it is suggested to place the Charge-A-Tron near natural sunlight. This may cause some minor issues, although it wouldn’t be unrealistic to assume people will find the advantages in moving the product to a window during the day and then moving it elsewhere at night. The solar panel can charge from artificial light if more convenient, although this does create a somewhat counterproductive element.
    Having all homes solar paneled and function entirely on green energy of course would be ideal, however this is not the case. Unfortunately many homeowners today aren’t willing to install solar panels even though they are economically and environmentally beneficial. The Charge-A-Tron offers an easy and affordable way for people to help conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emission. It really appeals to those who aren’t completely committed to installing solar panels but still want to make a difference. The Charge-A-Tron has a large market of potential customers and is able to make a huge impact in such a simple way.
    I hope I have answered your questions sufficiently. Let me know if there is anything I can clarify for you.

  • Icon for: Caroline Leng

    Caroline Leng

    June 10, 2015 | 10:57 p.m.

    Have you created a theoretical design of your Charge-A-Tron yet? And if so, what would be the production cost of such a device?

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    Presenter
    June 10, 2015 | 11:44 p.m.

    These are questions concerning the practical aspects of the Charge-A-Tron. All of these things depend on a few factors that will be hard to determine before I actually get my product on the market, however I do have some information that I hope you find helpful:
    As much as this is a scientific innovation it is also a business endeavour. If I had the opportunity to actually create the Charge-A-Tron I would first raise money from a crowdfunding site and apply for grants to cover the initial start up costs. I would then need to consult with a design team, create a prototype, trademark the name, find the most reliable and cost efficient manufacturer, patent the product, and then finally decide whether to license my product or take the entrepreneurial route and go straight to market.
    The production cost really varies depending on supplies and manufacturing costs. Clearly the more I buy the cheaper each product is and the better my margins are. It is very hard to estimate a production cost because there aren’t any similar products on the market. The ideal cost to manufacture one Charge-A-Tron would be anywhere between 4-6 USD with a retail value between 10-12 USD. I don’t think these numbers are too outrageous but once again I will learn along the way. This allows the Charge-A-Tron to stay affordable which was one of the key selling points in the original plan.
    I hope this answers your questions.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Icon for: Callie Cook

CALLIE COOK

Working for a better world
9th Grade
Best
Critic

Innovating creative solutions to efficiently charge phone batteries with the intention to reduce greenhouse gases

One inefficient energy use is the battery life and charging process of phones. With new, faster, lighter, and smarter applications more and more energy is being taken from the phones battery, making users charge their phones more. There are many ways to approach this issue. One idea is to create a charger that stops when the phone is fully charged, this will prevent overcharging and decrease useless energy transferred.