Students invent machine that recycles plastic bottles and charges phones

The original name for the machine was deborah.

Photo Courtesy: WAVE/CNN

(WAVE/CNN) – James Rogers Hardin County Senior: “And then you take a bottle, place it down the slot in hte machine, and it’s going to trigger power to all 32 of these usb ports across the front.”

James Rogers is explaining a new machine he and his class built last semester.  Dropping in a plastic bottle is like payment for 15 minutes of phone charging time. “Just about every backpack you see at school has some kind of water bottle there in it.”

The original name for the machine was deborah. “But then somebody spelled it wrong and they ended up called it duh-bor-uh,” said Rogers.

Joe Stuecker Energy Management Instructor: “this is huge.”

Joe Stuecker leads the energy management class. “I hate that we don’t recycle.  And then they said well we hate dead cellphones.  And I said well why don’t we use those together,” said Stuecker.

He’ll be the first to tell you this isn’t your typical class project. “No one has done anything like this before.”

This complex looking chart shows why. “So we’re at 1 point 6 watts.”

The machine uses less energy to charge than a normal outlet, and the savings get bigger, as more phones are plugged in. “Every time we plug a phone in it doesn’t double. It just goes up a small percentage each time.”

So they’re encouraging recycling, adding phone outlets, and saving power. “What really gets me excited is the applications that this could be used for.”

What started as group problems, has turned into a solution. “For them to be able to see it now and to get credit for the work that they’ve done, it’s huge.”

Copyright 2017 WAVE/CNN