Ballard Motive Solutions' (BMS) Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge education programme has been developed over more than a decade, aiming to engage students with renewables, hydrogen and technology. Building links to skills and pathways to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the platform centres around hydrogen and fuel cell innovation in Scotland, focusing on engaging students from wide and diverse backgrounds and communities.
Delivering educational workshops to school groups in Scotland’s cities and nearby city regions provides students with a deeper understanding of the role hydrogen can play in a low-carbon economy. Through collaboration and explorative learning, participants find out how increased utilisation can empower communities, provide environmentally and socially sustainable jobs, address air quality and the decarbonisation of public transport.
This Year’s Programme
Hosted by talented and enthusiastic STEM experts, the Hydrogen Challenge in 2022/23 will incorporate two-hour collaborative workshops across the country to inspire a generation of young people to raise the profile of renewable energy through hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The event will include a comprehensive introduction to the subject – covering hydrogen fuel cells, electrolysis, the benefits of renewable energies over fossil fuels, fuel cell applications and locally relevant projects. This will be followed by hands-on activities involving iteration-based scientific enquiry, designing for efficiency and some good old fashioned mechanical engineering.
The activity challenges participants to build a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from a kit of LEGO components, LEGO motor and custom-made miniature hydrogen fuel cell power supply. At each workshop, the top three teams who design the most energy efficient vehicles possible, ranked by the overall distance they can record on a limited fuel supply, advance to the Grand Final. From these participating groups, the team who can again construct the best performing fuel cell vehicle is crowned champions of the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge 2022/23.
This year, BMS will be delivering the programme with an expanded scope across eight Scottish cities, which includes Scotland’s newest city – Dunfermline. The educational initiative aims to reach 8,000-10,000 young people in over 100 schools and train many more student and professional facilitators during a busy event schedule.
A Successful Legacy
The Hydrogen Challenge programme in 2021 was delivered to secondary schools covering The Highlands, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth & Kinross, Falkirk, Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with more than 4,800 participants across 76 schools – benefiting from the expertise of over 100 university students and industry professionals in training in STEM education workshops.
Six city-based final events were delivered, as well as a high-profile National Grand Final at Scottish Power’s Glasgow Headquarters. Each of the finals were hugely popular with participants, with many held in spectacular venues, including the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen, Assembly Rooms’ Music Hall in Edinburgh and Glasgow City Chambers Banqueting Hall.
With the momentum currently behind the hydrogen industry in Scotland coupled with the success of last year’s programme, BMS, partners and stakeholders will leverage outstanding technical talent, resources and skillsets in order to accelerate and scale up ambitions to deliver another exceptional Hydrogen Challenge event.