A team of undergraduates from the University of Birmingham has won the prestigious RWE npower Energy Challenge by coming up with an innovative energy solution for future generations.
RWE npower Energy Challenge is an international competition which tasks students with devising a solution to the biggest challenge facing the energy sector: “How can an energy company respond to climate change, maintain a secure supply and more importantly ensure that energy bills are affordable?”
The Birmingham-based team, calling themselves Green Grid Consultancy, won the competition for their innovative idea to use a hybrid wind and wave generator. The project involved combining two forms of generation at the same site, this could reduce operating costs, improved power output and has no carbon emissions. Each member of the winning team was awarded £1,250, and £5,000 for Birmingham University.
The RWE npower Energy Challenge has been running for five years. With hundreds of students across the UK taking part, this year the competition had an international feel with two teams from Eindhoven University in Holland making the final.
Ayekame Tseja, captain of Birmingham’s Green Grid Consultancy team said: “We’re thrilled to be winners of the RWE npower Energy Challenge, and that our ideas stood out against such a strong field of competitors. Taking part in a competition that’s challenged us on such an important topic has been a great experience, and we’re thrilled that our hard work has paid off.”
The judges, comprising of senior board members from RWE npower including Volker Beckers, CEO of RWE npower were impressed with the unique nature of the team’s solutions.
Volker said: “The Green Grid Consultancy presentation was excellent and stood out due to the original way the team tackled the challenge of cutting emissions, whilst ensuring clean energy provision for the future. We’d like to congratulate them on winning the competition.”
“Among the goals of the Energy Challenge is encouraging and rewarding young people studying engineering and science, and attracting new students to these important topics. We’ve been impressed with all the entries to this year’s challenge, but special congratulations must go to our winners.”
Recent research from the Science for Careers Expert Group report has indicated that there could be a major shortage in science-skilled workers in the UK workforce, with a shortfall of 324,000 workers with the relevant skills by 2014. npower believes competitions like the Energy Challenge can play an important role in helping science undergraduates into industrial jobs and filling this skills gap.