Creating energy with do-it-yourself projects can be enjoyable and rewarding. On this page you’ll find a list of some of the best DIY energy projects from the web. Projects are broken down into two main categories; kids and advanced. These are further broken down into the type of energy the project uses.
Small Scale / Advanced Do-It-Yourself Energy Projects
- Small Scale Do-It-Yourself Solar Energy Projects
Building Solar Panels – Creating a solar cell can be quite complicated. This project makes things a bit more basic by just demonstrating how to combine pre-purchased solar cells into a solar panel. Great for the solar hobbyist who isn’t quite up to fabricating their own cells.
Build a Solar Panel – While this project might take more work and is a bit more expensive the rewards are greater too. Build a single solar panel to generate around 100W or combine them to create a solar array capable of powering your entire home.
Build Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSCC) – Dye Sensitized Solar Cells or DSCCs are a different type of solar cell that uses a Titanium Oxide dye to generate electricity instead of a P-N junction. Creating your own DSCCs can be a rewarding and educational experience.
$1k Solar Water Heater Project – Heating water with the Sun can be quite economical. This project has detailed construction information to building a solar water heater for around $1,000. Includes data logging and other fancy features.
- Small Scale Do-It-Yourself Wind Energy Projects
Building Wind Turbines – This project demonstrates how you can build a wind turbine from spare parts that will generate enough electricity to charge a 12V battery bank.
Make a Large (1000W) Wind Turbine – Going for the bigger is better approach this project outlines how to construct a 1000W wind turbine which is more than enough to offset the average home’s electricity usage. Detailed wiring, parts, and construction information supplemented with images and videos make this a great project page.
- Small Scale Do-It-Yourself Hydroelectricity Projects
Small Scale Hydro – Known as micro hydroelectricity building your own hydroelectric project can be quite entertaining and also overwhelming. This page has a variety of resources that will steer you in the right direction for everything from design, parts, and construction.
Make a Wave Powered Generator – Waves are an excellent source of energy for production electricity. This guide outlines how to build a large wave powered generator.
- Small Scale Do-It-Yourself Biological Energy Projects
Home-made Biofuels Resource – Awesome resource for do-it-yourself biofuel production and usage. Everything you need to start producing your own biodiesel or other biofuels from used vegetable oil and other sources.
Making Biodiesel – Detailed guide covers everything you could want to know about making biodiesel. From obtaining the materials to conversion and eventual use this site covers it all.
Composting Guide – One of the easiest and most useful biological energy projects is the compost pile. Waste organic matter like food scraps can be converted from trash to valuable soil amendment in your own backyard with minimal work and cost. A must for any serious backyard gardener.
- Small Scale Do-It-Yourself Geothermal Energy Projects
DIY Geothermal Heating Systems – DIY Geothermal projects can be a great inexpensive way to heat and cool your home. This guide from Popular Mechanics goes over the details you’ll need to consider when building your own geothermal heat pump.
Rick’s Homemade Geothermal Projects – Rick’s Geo is a blog run by a guy who has put a lot of time and effort into do-it-yourself geothermal energy. Learn from his mistakes and take advantage of the huge amount of knowledge on this site before you consider any serious DIY geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump projects.
- Small Scale Do-It-Yourself Other Energy Projects
Build a Bicycle Generator – Have you ever wished you could get paid to get in shape? Building a bicycle generator will at least save you some money while you burn those calories.
Build a Stirling Engine – Stirling engines are a popular type of heat engine. Follow this tutorial to create a small Stirling engine from household items.
Kid Friendly / Science Fair Energy Projects
Solar Power Science Fair Projects
Solar Battery Project – This is a simple project demonstrating how to build a solar battery. You won’t be powering your home any time soon but this is an excellent proof of concept or science fair project.
Build a Solar Cooker – Learn how to cook using the Sun by creating a home-made solar cooker. This project is very simple, can be completed in minutes, and it’s likely you have all the materials already.
Solar Still Experiment – Everyone knows we need fresh water to survive and this experiment shows you how you can use the power of the Sun to purify or desalinize water. Project uses common household materials and only takes a few minutes to setup.
- Wind Power Science Fair Projects
Wind Energy Science Fair Projects – Large collection of interesting projects covering the principles of wind power. Wind turbine rotor configurations, blade length, general electrical principles of turbines and much more can be explored in these DIY wind energy projects.
Science Fair Wind Generators – There is a wealth of information about building small science fair project wind generators. Includes discussion of optimal construction and practical information on where to find free or cheap parts such as the wind turbine made from old VCR parts.
- Hydroelectric Power Science Fair Projects
Simple DIY Water Turbine – Demonstrating hydro power principles can be easily done using nothing more than a 2 litre bottle, a pencil, and a cork. Connect spindle (pencil, skewer, etc) to small electric motor instead of using the energy to lift and you can show hydroelectricity.
Hydro Power Experiments – Variety of hydroelectric power science fair projects. Examines details such as the effect of wave height on wave powered generators and includes more practical scale model experiments of tidal power, dams, and more.
- Biological Power Science Fair Projects
Build a Lemon Battery – One of the great science fair classics this project will show you how to build a battery from nothing more than a lemon, a nail, and a penny.
Build a Biogas Digester – This is a simple biofuel science fair project. Organic waste (food scrap) is decomposed in a plastic jug with a balloon around the open end. Methane gas is produced from the decomposition which can be burned to produce useful work and demonstrate the process of conversion from biomass to biofuel and eventual combustion.
- Geothermal Power Science Fair Projects
Geothermal Power Plant Principles Experiment – This simple geothermal energy experiment can be done with nothing more than a pot, some aluminum foil, and a pinwheel. Shows how geothermal energy is harnessed through steam turbines driven by boiling water under the surface of the Earth.
- Other Energy Science Fair Projects
Make a Hydrogen Fuel-cell – Another great project is this hydrogen fuel cell which can be created with some platinum coated wire and a few household items.
Light from Friction – Create light using nothing more than a fluorescent tube and saran wrap, fur, cloth, or anything else that will create static electricity.
Warning: Just because these experiments are “kid friendly” it does not mean they should be done without adult supervision. Some of these projects use boiling water and electricity. The term “kid friendly” relates to the age group of the observers not the experimenter. Adult supervision required.