Owen Compani, a junior at Broadalbin-Perth Jr./Sr. High School, won the Senior Division National Grid Award for Energy and the Environment at the Greater Capital District Science and Engineering Fair at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on March 18. The award is presented to research projects that focus on achieving energy reduction, sustainability, or reduced environmental impact. Compani’s award-winning project was on consumer acceptance of electric vehicles.
“In December, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule, which requires all new cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs sold in New York to be zero-emission by 2035,” Compani said. “When I read this, I immediately wondered how many people in our rural area knew of this regulatory action and what their thoughts were on purchasing electric vehicles.”
“Owen did a tremendous job of executing this study,” said BPHS biology teacher Brian Henry, who oversaw Compani’s research. “The data he collected has given us a peek into consumer thought processes regarding electric vehicles. His research has real-life applications.”
More than 90 students from high schools around the region participated in the fair. This year marked Compani’s fifth entry. His previous projects included “measuring light pollution in the Adirondacks, redesigning a big-box store parking lot, calculating carbon sequestration at a tree farm, and designing a life-saving device that attaches to an automobile sun visor to be used in flood emergencies,” he said.
“Each project involved a different type of data collection, which is what I find most interesting,” Compani said. “I actually enjoy the math calculations of the data and text analysis of responses, and learning whether or not my hypothesis or engineer question was proved.”
Compani says he plans to study civil engineering and construction management in college, where he would like to continue working on research projects individually or as part of a team.