Valley of the Sunflowers will plant a field of sunflowers on a vacant city block & students will convert the harvest into biofuel.
ALL CONTRIBUTIONS to Valley of the Sunflowers are made to Roosevelt Row CDC, A 501(C)3 nonprofit, and are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.
Valley of the Sunflowers will activate an entire 2-acre, vacant city block in downtown Phoenix and turn it into a beautiful field of sunflowers for two seasons, fall 2011 & spring 2012. The sunflowers will be harvested by neighboring Bioscience High School students who will press the seeds for oil and create biodiesel fuel for their hybrid solar/biofuel vehicle project.
- Demonstrate art can create a transformative educational experience for local students
- Demonstrate art can reduce urban blight by beautifying vacant lots
- Demonstrate art can be a catalyst for sustainable energy
- Demonstrate art can bring excitement and inspiration to downtown Phoenix
Photo Credit: Andrew Pielage
Sunflowers were used as a perimeter crop in Arizona over three thousand years ago by the Hohokam, sunflower leafs are heliotropic and emblematic of Arizona’s ability to harness the power & energy of the sun, sunflowers are a source of oil to produce biofuel, sunflowers are beautiful and inspiring.
We plan to grow 30,000 sunflowers.
We hope to produce 150 gallons of biodiesel.
We plant peas with the sunflowers because they are in the legume family (like beans!) Legumes contain bacteria within nodes (or bumps) in their root system and the bacteria take nitrogen gas and produce nitrogen solid compounds that help the plant to grow. When the plant dies, the "fixed" nitrogen is released, making it available to other plants and this helps to fertilize the soil. Planting peas with the sunflowers will make sure the sunflowers in the spring season will have enough available nitrogen in the soil to grow to their full potential.
Phoenix Union Bioscience High School is a unique science-focused, high school that is responding to the burgeoning science, technology and engineering industries. The courses are developed around student interests and are intended to prepare students for future study and jobs that do not yet exist. Bioscience offers a full, four-year curriculum with integration among the disciplines. Located in the hub of biotech research, medicine, arts district and higher education in downtown Phoenix, and through partnerships with the community, students have the opportunity to collaborate beyond the walls of the school and experience real world learning.
The Students have had quite a bit of success with biofuel creation so far. They have used corn oil as the source, and have done a transesterification reaction in which they add a strong base (in this case potassium hydroxide), and methanol (wood alcohol) to an oil and hold it at about 42 degrees celcius for about 45 minutes. During this process, the base breaks apart the oil into its components (glycerol and 3 fatty acids). The goal is to harvest the fatty acids as our biofuel source. The leftover glycerol is also known as glycerin, and can be used for multiple purposes in soaps and lotions. Once this process has happened, the pH of the biofuel is really high, about 11, due to the potassium hydroxide. The impurities are removed by doing several warm-water baths to get the pH close to 7 so that it is safe to use in an engine.
We plant a living fence of sunflowers every year at the community garden across the street from this vacant lot. We would often look out over the sunflowers to the vast, empty dirt lots and imagine fields of sunflowers.
pledged of $15,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on October 25, 2011.
Sep 15, 2011 - Oct 25, 2011 (40 days)
Pledge $1 or more
Support Valley of the Sunflowers by giving $1 or more and we'll list your name on the "Thank you! page" on the Roosevelt Row Arts District website.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $10 or more
Contribute $10 or more and we will send you a limited-edition directory postcard with artwork by Roosevelt Row artist, Joreal Elliot + we'll name a sunflower after you AND you get your name listed on the "Thank you! webpage."Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $50 or more
$50 or more gets you hand-printed sunflower coasters made by Hazel & Violet Ink in Roosevelt Row AND we’ll name a sunflower after you, your name will be listed on the website, and we'll send you a limited-edition directory postcard. (http://www.hazelandvioletink.com/)Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $100 or more
$100 or more and we’ll send you a pack of seeds from the sunflower field grown right here in Roosevelt Row, your name listed on the website, gets you sunflower coasters, a directory postcard and we’ll name a sunflower after you.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $250 or more
$250 or more and you receive a basket of seasonal veggies from the community garden, we’ll send you a pack of seeds from the sunflower field, your name listed on the website, gets you sunflower coasters, a directory postcard and we’ll name a sunflower after you.Estimated delivery: May 2012
Pledge $500 or more
$500 or more gets you TWO event tickets to our annual Pie Social, your name listed on the website, gets you a directory postcard, sunflower coasters, we’ll name a sunflower after you and send you a RoRo sunflower seed pack.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
$1000 or more gets you an original piece of sunflower inspired artwork from an artist in Roosevelt Row, TWO event tickets to our annual Solstice Fundraiser, Food Truck Festival and Pie Social AND everything listed in the above levels.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
$5000 or more gets you one five-course dinner for you + 5 guests in the middle of the sunflower field, cooked by "Denise is Cooking" with veggies from the Grow Community Garden AND everything listed in the above levels.Estimated delivery: Apr 2012