Charging up enthusiasm in the next generation of engineers at Ardley Energy Recovery Facility
15th May 2016
A team of pupils from The Bicester School, Oxfordshire, have won the Students’ Choice award and successfully received a commendation in the Engineering Education Scheme Oxfordshire regional final earlier this month, following a project in partnership with Viridor. For their project the pupils set out to understand how the Energy Recovery Facility could utilise a small amount of additional electricity.
The state-of-the-art facility designed to recover what is not recycled from households in Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties, transforming it into renewable energy, enough to power over 38,000 homes.
The Engineering Education Scheme provides students in year 12 with opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge in working environments. The project is part of a partnership scheme to encourage more students into careers using Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
The six A Level students hit the ground running to develop an understanding of how energy is recovered then conducting a study into how the additional electricity could be harnessed. Having assessed the operations at Ardley they decided to focus on establishing whether electric charging points for hybrid vehicles would be viable to reduce the county’s reliance on petrol and diesel.
Ian Smith, Director of Energy Recovery Facilities for Viridor paid tribute to the student’s hard work: “I would firstly like to thank this group of young adults for being so engaged and mature throughout the course of this project. Coming into the world of work at such a young age and operating with such ease in a highly technical environment is not an easy skill. They have worked hard and approached our challenge creatively to enable us to think about alternative uses for electricity at Ardley that could directly benefit the community.”
Tim Marston, Deputy Head Teacher at the Bicester School said of the project: “The students were really captivated by the potential of this project. By enabling them to step outside the classroom environment and think about academic principles in a real world context has deeply embedded their learning and reinforced the principles we teach at school everyday. By challenging them to think and work as a team, along with opening their eyes, I hope it has given them a glimpse into the possibility of a career in engineering within Oxfordshire.”
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