As part of our centenary celebrations in 2014, we invited young Tasmanians to imagine our energy future. Students in years 5-10 were asked to consider how we might source and use energy 100 years from now, and explain their idea in 100 words or less.

More than 70 entries from all corners of the state were reviewed by a Hydro Tasmania judging panel of engineers, scientists and educators against the criteria of presentation, innovation, and being solution-oriented.

There were some incredibly imaginative and thought-provoking solutions to securing our future energy supply. While some of the ideas may take many decades to figure out, in some cases there is already exploratory work going on in some countries that could lead to practical application in the near future.

Individual and school prizes have been awarded in three categories, Grades 5-6, Grades 7-8 and Grades 9-10. The winners received a $150 gift voucher from Dick Smith Electronics for themselves, and an energy efficiency audit for their school (valued at around $3000).

You can read the winning entries and the honourable mentions in each category below. Most entrants also provided illustrations and diagrams to support their idea.

Grade 5 - 6 winner and honourable mentions

Solar panel clothes_Winner_Grade 5-6

Solar panel clothes

WINNER - Nan Yu Peacock-Jones
Albuera Street Primary School

I think that one of the ways of getting energy in the future will be having solar panel clothing so you can power your little devices on the go.

The sun will shine on to your solar panel clothes which will produce electricity that will flow through small wires in to your device. This will be good because people won’t have to work as hard to get electricity and it’s free. Because to make this work you have to be outside this will encourage people to get out and about in the sun. 

Future energy-Grade 5-6

Future energy

Albuera Street Primary School

I do believe that there should be more sustainable ecofriendly designs for using energy.

My idea is that solar panels can be replaced as the roofs of things. Example, to have the roof of a house made out of solar panel material, so that it would capture large amounts of energy that could then last days. Another alternative is that the roofs of cars can be made out of solar cells. The energy would then travel to the battery which would then power heaters and headlights. You could even have them on the MCG, so that it powers the nightlights.

Electricity rain umbrella-Grade 5-6

Electricity rain umbrella

Albuera Street Primary School

In a hundred years later no one knows what people will use to make electricity.

But I have an interesting idea that can happen in a hundred years. Use an electricity rain Umbrella.

If the rain and wind are really strong the mini wind turbine will turn and then the hatch will open. The rain water will go through the hatch, then to the mini water wheel.The mini water wheel will spin really fast and makes mechanical energy, then turns to electricity. When you go home you can plug phones into the umbrella and your phone will be charged!

Future Thinkers competition-Grade 5-6

2114 energy efficiency

HONOURABLE MENTION - Jordan May Shephard
Launceston Preparatory School

I believe that in 2114 we will have many more efficient sources of electricity than today.

We will utilise renewable energy from garbage and recycling from household waste. Instead of providing landfill we will be able to turn it into energy from environmentally friendly waste treatment centres.

There will be a way of harnessing frequencies of soundwaves to provide vibrations and turning these into heat and a source of energy. It will be generated at great speed and stored within cable cells. Electricity will be used freely and efficiently, as people will be confident of renewed sustainability.

If vibrations powered the house-Grade 5-6

If vibrations powered the house

Albuera Street Primary School

If vibrations powered the house walking out of bed would make the floor vibrate hopefully making electricity to power the fridge or toaster. This is how it works; little plates placed under the house trap vibrations turning them into electricity, that electricity then travels through a pipe into whatever is plugged into the plug gets powered.

They’ve already done this in Rio on a soccer field. The only downside is that each plate costs $500 and having about 5000 of those underneath your house would add up to $25000 would cost lots of money.

Grade 7-8 winner and honourable mentions

Electricity of the future_Winner_Grade 7-8

Electricity of the future

WINNER - Keeley Hine-Haycock
St. Mary's College

100 years from now, the world will revolve around technology. For this extraordinary technology to exist, the people will need electricity.

This electricity will come from lightning bolts. Scientists will need to find certain locations around the world that receive frequent lightning strikes. The electricity from these lightning bolts are then to be stored in a battery ready to be distributed when needed for use.

This source of electricity is renewable as it is sourced from nature. This form of electricity would also be cheaper than fossil fuels as it would not need to be extracted out of the ground. 

Energy in the future-Grade 7-8

Energy in the future

Ogilvie High School

I think that in 100 years, tunnels blowing vertical shafts of air as roads and foot paths will be the new way to travel the towns and cities of the world. If the cars could just float around they could lose the wheels and engines, meaning fewer fumes would pollute the air and we wouldn’t have to spend so much on petrol, also it would cut the noise by way more than half. And if people could fly everywhere, they would travel more it would be easier to hire wing suits instead of cars, increasing tourism income.

What my idea of the future would be-Grade 7-8

What my idea of the future would be...

Ogilvie High School

I believe that the future would be more technical with cars, houses, people, devices, etc.

PEOPLE: Would start to think differently as we do today, this would link with the stuff we have compared to the things that they would use.

DEVICES: Would be more advanced to our technology; it would take more advanced creators to make them compared to them today.

CARS: They won’t need wheels at all; they would probably have air pushing down underneath it to levitate it up.

HOUSES: They would have more electricity running though it and I also think they might be very big.

Future Thinkers competition-Grade 7-8

The "R.E.A.L" machine

St. Mary's College

Rehabilitation for the cryogencially preserved
Welcome to 2114. Hydro Tasmania would like to thank you for participating in this scientific investigation. In order to ensure your ease into modern society is undergone with clarity, the following information may assist with comprehension.

Energy sources
Hydro continues to use sustainable, traditional practices (such as hydropower), however the rising population of Hobart demands a higher energy production rate. Adhering to this, Hydro constructed the “R.E.A.L” (Reducing Emissions Altering Life) machine, which has the capability to convert harmful CO2 gases into H20. The H2O is processed through several hydropower turbines in repetition producing sustainable energy. 

All in one sustainability energy system-Grade 7-8

Bridget's all-in-one sustainability energy system

St. Mary's College

One hundred years from now, Hydro Tasmania will serve locals differently due to technology and system changes.

Using my imagination, but being realistic, I have come up with a method of creating energy. Each household would have an all-in-one system combining wind and rainwater turbines alongside solar power to produce all household energy requirements. Solar panels contain extra strength capability. Rainwater falls into drains that lead to a turbine. The wind turbine spins supplying energy to be stored under the roof. Extra energy produced in extreme weather conditions is stored in the system. This system provides efficient, economical and environmental sustainability.

Grade 9-10 winner and honourable mentions

Harnessing nature_Winner_Grade 9-10

Harnessing nature

WINNER - Jarrah Hanssen
Tarremah Steiner School

Harnessing nature’s energy like solar power has ongoing potential as an energy source.

Thick panel solar cells were just the beginning. With 3D printers it would be possible to print solar cells out in sheets, weave them into clothing or spray buildings with a photovoltaic coating. Nature has had millions of years to perfect its workings.

I imagine innovations being made where energy production mimics nature to enhance the efficiency of machines we already have. Such as placing a design of a whirlpool mould in a water turbine to make it more efficient.

Harnessing natures energy-Grade 9-10

Harnessing NATURES energy

Tasmanian eSchool

Future energy will have three characteristics; minimal environmental impact, reliability and reasonable cost.Energy in 100 years will predominantly be solar, wind and rain power. Homes and communities will have all three sources, maximising the energy being produced. No-matter what weather, houses will have guaranteed energy.

Along with home based solar and wind power generation, rain water will be collected from roof-houses and stored in tanks. It would then be funnelled into turbines to run small generators that provides energy to storage units that gives electricity to the house. Homes will have their own miniature hydro station.

Future Thinkers competition-Grade 9-10

Pound the pavement and produce piezoelectricity

The Friends' School

In 100 years cities will supply themselves with clean energy by harvesting piezoelectricity; the electric charge that builds up in some solid materials when pressure is applied. To harvest this energy, cities will build special roads, walkways and jogging tracks, underneath of which will be electricity-collecting grids. People will exercise while contributing to their city’s energy production.

This will benefit society by improving fitness, since it is people’s movement that produces the energy. Vehicles on roads will also contribute to the city’s energy production. Piezoelectricity, being clean and sustainable, will benefit the environment and it encourages exercise therefore benefiting society.

The future is in free energy-Grade 9-10

The future is in free energy

Tarremah Stein School

Controversial, yes. Revolutionary, yes.

Free energy is a daring leap away from energy generation as we have known it, extracting energy from the fabric of space around us (also known as the quantum vacuum or zero point energy field). Further research into the Casimir Effect may prove useful as one way of extracting energy from the quantum vacuum.

Future for Hydro Tasmania? Facilitating the decentralisation of power generation to utilise free energy combined with existing sustainable technologies (solar, wind, hydro).

Free energy has the potential to revolutionise energy generation but do we dare?

Can we afford not to?