Since 2010, the Alternative Energy Challenge (AEC), a competition organized by the University of Texas at Austin, has allowed students to gain valuable hands-on experience building prototypes, and to develop both critical problem solving and public speaking skills. AEC 2018 is expected to be the biggest yet, with a large number of teams of 2-5 undergraduate students expected to build and present their prototypes.
Each team is tasked with designing and building an original prototype that mitigates or eliminates one or more risks and/or problems that can arise before, during, or after any kind of natural disaster. The device should fulfill the following requirements as much as possible:
- The waste product should be minimal. In other words, the materials that make up the device should be reusable wherever possible (recyclable, compostable, etc.).
- The device should operate on a clean energy source. The device should not be powered by an energy source which contributes to the greenhouse effect.