Renewable Energy & the Hybrid Engine

May 12, 2010

News about renewable energy is everywhere. I’ve talked about it before in posts like Teaching Hybrid Technology. But the amount of focus and fervor devoted to this has grown. There were over 17500 articles referring to renewable energy in the last 24 hours alone (according to Google News). This is due to new technology, upcoming legislation as well as man-made disasters. The public’s consciousness of renewable energy is on the rise. And one of the ways people are expressing this is by buying and driving hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid engines combine electric and combustion to power the car, rather than just combustion. This means they are more environmentally friendly. Because at low speeds the electric engine is powering the car, they save on the consumption of fossil fuels. This has the benefit in term of carbon emissions. When the gas is not being used, the fumes are not being released into the environment. Their reliability and low emissions rate (not to mention higher gas mileage) mean that they are more popular than ever.

These hybrid vehicles are being used, and so they will need to be maintained. Hybrid engines have some different features than typical gas engines, as discussed above. Want to see what they look like? Check out our Hybrid Cut-Away Engine. This engine has been specifically cut to provide automotive technology instructors and students with the best view of the workings. (It is color coded to show the flow of liquids.) Here are a few sneak peaks (with more available on


Appreciate the Inspiration

May 4, 2010
Teachers enlighten and brighten us

Teachers enlighten and brighten us.

Today marks the occasion of an important holiday for science teachers: International Star Wars Day. The epic battles with the incongruous noise in space, the wisdom of Yoda, the painful lesson in over-hyped expectations that was ‘The Phantom Menace’ … all these and more have been inspirational for science teachers throughout the decades since the release of ‘A New Hope.’

What, you thought I was going to talk about National Teacher Appreciation Day? Actually, I am. Because what I am talking about is inspiration: for teachers, from teachers, and to teachers.

We appreciate and celebrate teachers not just because of the things they teach, but because of the ways they inspire us to think about the world in a new way. Whether it is to explore renewable energy, look at light in new ways or to embrace our inner geek, inspiration is what teachers give us.

So in turn let us give them our appreciation, not just this day or week, but as often as we are inspired. Feel free to discuss the teachers who inspired you in the comments.