Rowland Hall student tours bicycle generator around Park City
Emma Greally wants to change the world, and based on her track record, few doubt her ability to do so.
As a fifth-grader, the Park City student created a bike that generates electricity. Now that she is in eighth grade, she is touring her updated project around the state.
She has been to The Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City and the People’s Health Clinic and the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse in Park City to show individuals how they can pedal a bike and create enough energy to charge a cell phone.
Greally, who now attends Rowland Hall in Salt Lake City, came up with the idea to create clean energy while promoting a healthy lifestyle a few years ago.
Since she had done science fair projects since second grade, she was searching for an idea. Part of her inspiration came from her brother, who completed a science fair project about the dangers of greenhouse gases.
“I thought that maybe I could do something along the lines of clean energy,” she said.
Then, one day, she saw her teacher biking to school, and Greally’s mother commented about how incredible it would be to harness her energy.
“Then I got the idea that people could create their own clean energy by just pedaling on a bicycle,” she said.
She received help from her uncle, a chemical engineer, who taught her about electricity production and clean energy. The second year that she worked on her bicycle generator, she met with an electrician and a Park City Fire District inspector and learned to make her project safer through a voltage regulator and a smaller motor.
The first year, she won Parley’s Park Elementary School’s science fair. She went to the Park City School District’s science fair and got an honorable mention. The following year, she won first in the district science fair and took home first in her category in the state science fair. Last year, she tied for first in the district and received the Director’s Award from the director of the fair.
“I’m very lucky and very grateful that she thought that my project had that kind of potential,” she said.
Now, she is in her fourth phase, in which she is placing her experiment in public locations throughout Park City and receiving public feedback.
One of the things she has learned so far is that kids enjoy riding the bike, so she is considering making a version with a smaller bicycle.
Greally said that she eventually wants to create a portable version that can be distributed around developing countries that do not have regular electricity.
“I hope that I can be able to make a change in the environment with my project,” she said. “I personally think it’s very cool to be able to create your own electricity.”
Regardless of whether the project continues or not, Greally said that she wants to continue to implement solutions to global issues through engineering. But if nothing else comes from the project, she hopes to inspire people to think about ways they can produce clean energy while having a healthy lifestyle.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.