Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge comes to Stirling and Falkirk

Oct 4, 2021

  • Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge sees students from across Scotland build the most efficient Lego vehicle.
  • Falkirk and Stirling students competed last week to win a place in the challenge’s grand final in Glasgow at the end of October.
  • Students heard more about the decarbonisation of transport and the role green hydrogen will play in tackling climate change.

Second- and third-year students from secondary schools across Falkirk and Stirling have been competing in the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge to make the most efficient green hydrogen-powered miniature vehicle.

Over the course of the last week in September, more than 70 pupils from Dunblane, McLaren, Wallace, St Modans, Stirling, Bannockburn, Balfron, Falkirk, St Mungo’s RC, Denny, Larbert, Bo’ness Academy, Grangemouth, Braes, Carrogrange and Graeme schools worked in small teams of two to four using just LEGO and a green hydrogen fuel cell to see how far their vehicle could travel.

The challenge culminated in an exciting final at the iconic Falkirk Wheel on Friday 1 October, where the top teams from each school raced for a place in the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge Grand Final taking place in Glasgow later in October.

First place went to Larbert High School, Dunblane High School claimed second, and third place went to Braes High School. Vehicles are only around 25cm in length and many students managed to achieve incredible distances throughout the week.

The challenge is being delivered by Forth Valley for Net Zero supporter, Arcola Energy, as well as ITM Power and ScottishPower. Arcola Energy is a leader in hydrogen and fuel cell integration, specialising in zero-emission solutions for heavy-duty vehicles and transport applications. Together, the three organisations have formed a partnership to help educate people on the importance of green hydrogen in tackling the ongoing climate emergency.

Green hydrogen is made when a renewable electricity source, like an onshore wind farm, is used to generate the electricity to power an electrolyser which splits water into its two elements: hydrogen and oxygen. The zero emissions fuel offers a long term, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, and can be used to decarbonise sectors that cannot be powered by electricity alone, including large transport vehicles like trucks, trains or buses and heavy industry or high temperature industrial processes.

Barry Carruthers, Hydrogen Director at ScottishPower said: “We have a challenge ahead of us to create a thriving green hydrogen economy that works with electrification to deliver the Net Zero future we need to tackle the climate emergency. I have no doubt that some of the students we have met in Falkirk and Stirling will be helping us lead the way to a Net Zero future.”

With more than 7,000 students taking part in the programme in Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Stirlingshire and Edinburgh, it will culminate with Glasgow’s grand final. During these events, students have also discovered more about the decarbonisation of transport and the important role it is playing in reaching Scotland’s climate change targets.

Robert Naylor, Director of Children’s Services at Falkirk Council said: “STEM industries are incredibly important to the Falkirk and Stirling area. Our schools, college and local industry work together to ensure that our young people are prepared for careers in STEM. As we move towards a Net Zero future, we are delighted that our schools are being supported by businesses like Arcola Energy, ITM and Scottish Power to take forward innovative ways to engage our young people with future technology.”

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