Last Friday 13th, 136 pupils from 25 schools across the capital arrived at City Hall to take part in a competition that tests how far their custom-designed Lego cars could travel fuelled by just one 10ml syringe of hydrogen.
The day was the culmination of three-month workshops in schools where pupils are challenged to design, build and test hydrogen-powered model cars using custom-designed Lego kits. During the workshops, engineers who build functional hydrogen vehicles acted as mentors to offer guidance and support, providing young people with experience of the latest technologies. Throughout this process, the pupils have acquired knowledge about the potential of hydrogen as a low-carbon source of energy.
A grand 1,260 pupils took part in this year’s Challenge which is delivered by Hydrogen London and Arcola Energy. Since the Challenge started in 2012, almost 3,000 young people have taken part, demonstrating that the programme is growing successfully each year.
The teams reached the final after successfully competing against groups of their classmates; the team in each school that raced the furthest during their workshops won a place in the City Hall final.
The overall winning team came from Hall Mead School in Havering (pictured above), whose Lego car travelled 24 metres. They were closely followed by John Roan School from Greenwich with a distance of 23.5 metres. In third place was Palmers Green High School from Enfield with 20.5 metres.
Following a certificate presentation ceremony at City Hall, the winning team will now be given the opportunity to visit one of the hydrogen stations in London where they will see a hydrogen vehicle and hydrogen technology in action. Other prizes include renewable energy sets and bio-energy kits containing miniature wind turbines and solar panels that teams were able to take back to their schools and use to generate carbon neutral power.
Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s senior environment and energy advisor, said: “The London Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge is all about teaching young people about the potential of hydrogen as a cleaner, low carbon fuel whilst helping to fuel their interest in science. Whether pupils reached the final or not, I congratulate each and every participant in this year’s challenge which has proved a huge success.’’
Ben Todd, Managing Director of Arcola Energy, said: “The London Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge is the high point of our international education programme which spans Aberdeen to Abu Dhabi. Every year the London students do the city proud with a spectacular display of ingenuity and promise. Thank you to our sponsors without which this would not be possible.” The London Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge draws to a close an exhibition running at City Hall that shows how hydrogen can be used as an alternative source of power.
The final was nicely timed with Hydrogen Week at City Hall which was a huge success featuring an exhibition showcasing innovative hydrogen technology, an Intelligent Energy Burgman scooter and a panel discussion around the role of hydrogen in low emission transport.