Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Making the bus less of a drag

14 year old Jonny Cohen learned about aerodynamics and wind resistance in his physics class where the students built miniature racing cars. Later, while riding the bus to school, Jonny couldn’t stop thinking about how inefficient most vehicles in the real world actually are — especially school buses with their wide, flat windshields.

Jonny’s idea was simple: Add Plexiglas shields to school buses. That should make the buses more aerodynamic. More aerodynamic buses get better gas mileage, which means they burn less fuel, which means they emit fewer of the harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

It’s a simple, small-scale idea, but GreenShields won enough attention to get $25,000 in an online competition sponsored by Pepsi. The money will help GreenShields develop a prototype and make enough shields to fit a handful of buses.

Even better, Jonny and his friends already have achieved one of their big goals: Making people more aware of the environmental impact of their daily lives.

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