Alternative Energy

Eli Whitney Museum

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2019 Summer Program

In 1798 Eli Whitney chose the site of the Museum as the site for his first Armory because of it's access to a power supply – the Mill River. For 62 years a small dam and waterwheels, later upgraded to hydraulic turbines, powered the factory's machinery. In 1860 the dam was raised, creating the first reservoir for the New Haven Water Company and the dam that we see today. Power supply from the dam gave way to steam engines and electric motors.

Construct a working windmill that will become a permanent fixture in the water lab. Experiment with waterwheels and the methods that Eli Whitney used to power his factory. Then, build a unit with a solar panel and battery pack to store the sun's energy for later use. Explore the ways in which Solar, Wind, and Water can be captured, used, and stored. Modern technology makes the 'old' new again for a brighter future.

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