Holyoke High Students Partner with Power Development International & the HG&E

Holyoke High Students Partner with Power Development International & the HG&E

Tom Feldman is the CEO and President of Power Development International (PDI) which is a company that focuses on creating clean, safe and cheap electricity through hydroelectric dams and turbines. Tom was able to partner PDI with The Holyoke Gas and Electric and receive a grant from the state of Massachusetts for almost a quarter of a million dollars to start a project on a new type of turbine that PDI has spent four years developing. This turbine will revolutionize hydroelectric power in America.

Mr. Belanger was very excited when Tom came to Holyoke High to partner with the school and create a platform for students to learn about this ground breaking research happening in their hometown. The students taking part in this independent study will have opportunities to go into the field, interview actual engineers both from PDI and HG&E, work with 3D printers and get an inside look at what they’ll be doing after they graduate college. Mr. Belanger selected a group of four seniors to take part in the project and these seniors are Orlando Garcia, Kellen Powers, Dillian Rios, and Tyler Guertin.

Mr. Belanger can’t wait to begin this project saying “I want to get students from Holyoke High involved with this project the whole way.” This project is going to be very hands on and it will allow the students selected to get a very unique learning experience out of it. “ This is truly state of the art research happening in hydroelectric power plants and Holyoke is the databed for the entire country.” Belanger said.

Tom and other researchers have been collecting data from the Holyoke canal for years and have found that the installation of the turbine will not only be friendly to the environment but it will actually be beneficial to the people of Holyoke as well. When asked why he wanted to partner with Holyoke High, Tom said, “It made sense to approach high school students because we have a living laboratory a half a mile away that has a tremendous amount of value to educate high schoolers about this technology.” Tom hopes to put the turbine in the canal in early spring and since this turbine is the first one to be tested there will be rigorous tests and data collecting for six months after the turbine is put into the canal. These four seniors from Holyoke High will be able to take part in this data collection and analysis as if they were the engineers incharge of the operation.

Mr. Belanger and Tom both hope that this program and the turbine is a success. The seniors taking part in the study will be creating a lesson plan for their final project to teach middle school, 9th, and 10th graders in Holyoke about the turbine and other types of hydroelectric power so they can excite students about this at a young age and the independent study can continue for years come. This final project will actually take up a percentage of the seniors final grades for their classes at Holyoke High as well, so with the help of Mr. Belanger and other Holyoke High teachers these students will be able to take part in this amazing experience. Tom hopes to continue PDI’s partnership with HG&E and make this turbine something that is a major resource for hydroelectric power all over America.

These four Holyoke High students are being given an amazing opportunity to learn more about the creation of power and Mr. Belanger and Holyoke High are honored to be the first school to take part in a partnership like this.