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December 11, 2007

Londonderry LEGO team is state champ

LONDONDERRY | The Inventioneers, a nine-member FIRST LEGO League team based in Londonderry, took home the top trophy Saturday at the sixth annual New Hampshire State Championship held at Nashua High School North and sponsored by B.A.E. Systems.

The Inventioneers earned the first place Champion's Award win from a field of 52 of the top teams from around the state and qualify for the international competition to be held in Atlanta, GA in April.

This year, the theme is "Power Puzzle," which challenges the teams to learn all about energy | from conservation, to efficiency, to fuel sources both current and in the future.

Team member, T.J. Evarts, 12, said he enjoyed the design and test phases of developing the team's Thin Film Solar (TFS) Wavy Roof prototype.

"I liked the formulas and calculations," T.J. said. "I also liked visiting Konarka (a company in Lowell, Mass. that makes thin solar panels.)"

While the team was researching future energy alternatives to fossil fuels, they discovered the new technology advancements being made in solar panel design and manufacturing.

Beginning in October, the team began designing what they call the "TFS Wavy Roof," which is an innovative solar roofing panel which takes advantage of the unique features of the new thin film fabrication processes. The team holds a provisional patent on this invention.

This is the second year that the Inventioneers took home the top award for the state.

"We've made some cool inventions over the last four years," T.J. said. "One thing we've learned is that if you have an idea, go for it."

The team won the first place research award this past April at the international championships for last year's invention, a prototype filtration system.

Along with developing the solar panel prototype, the Inventioneers partnered with the Londonderry Fire Department and did a thorough energy audit of the Central Fire Station. They also worked with Public Service of New Hampshire to link the Fire Department into the Small Business Retrofit Program, which includes rebates for upgrading the station's older-style lighting to the top efficiency fixtures available currently.

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