East Valley students head to Texas for national STEM competition

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Local engineering students are competing on the national stage. Kids from East Valley High were picked to take part in the "Samsung Solve For Tomorrow Contest." About $150,000 is on the line for their school.

It might look like it's just a fan in a box. But this is called a Hydro-Chill, and it has the ability to cool a room using energy from water. This could be used in place of a typical air conditioner. Students from East Valley began designing the Hydro-Chill at the start of the school year. And how does it work?

"Water runs through from the canals or irrigation, like wells and stuff, and it flows in through the back of the radiator and goes up through, allowing the cool air from the fan in the back to blow through, collecting heat, which runs out with the other water while cool air blows out into the room," said student Isaiah Ornelas.

The students had their hometown in mind when making this idea a reality. With Yakima Valley's hot summer temperatures, this Hydro-Chill could be more efficient than A/C. Just plug your garden hose into the box and let the water do the work.

"If everyone in Yakima were to use a Hydro-Chill, it would save more than 20 million kilowatt-hours of energy, which is more than $2 million worth of energy," said Ornelas.

The project already won the state competition. That brought in $20,000 for East Valley High. Now, it's on to the national competition in Austin.

"I'm nervous, but it seems really fun to be able to share our experiences as a class with, like, people from that are all around the nation," said student Ruby Galayde.

The project allowed these students not only to put their math and science knowledge to practical use, but to design something that has the potential to help preserve our environment for future generations.

"Something that started small and ended up making a big difference here in Yakima," said Ornelas.

That change started right in this classroom.

Four of the five finalists will be selected by the judges. The fifth will be decided by a popular vote.
You can find a link to vote for East Valley here.