Schools challenged to make waves in renewable energy

School pupils are being challenged to come up with the renewable energy devices of the future as part of a Scotland-wide competition. The Junior Saltire Awards 2015 is inviting teams of pupils across three age groups to design, build and test their own floating Wave Energy Converter, using wave power to create electricity.

sds logoThe competition is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Teams which reach the final will have the chance to test their gadgets at the University of Edinburgh’s FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility – the world’s most sophisticated ocean simulator which can recreate multi-directional waves and fast tidal flows.

Diane Hill, Energy Partnership Manager at SDS, said:

“This competition is ideal for budding inventors who think they have what it takes to create the next generation of renewable energy sources.

“Not only does this competition give school pupils the chance to learn about the growing sector of marine renewables, but it’s the ideal way for young people to develop their interest in STEM subjects.

“And the opportunity to try out their inventions at a world-class research facility such as FloWave is one not to be missed.”

Olnafirth PrimaryThe competition is open to three age groups: P5-P7, S1-S3 and S4-S6. Teams of four in each age group have until December 19 to register.

They then must submit a design brief by the end of February, and evidence of a finished model by the end of April.

Judges will then draw up a shortlist of four teams in each age group who will be invited to FloWave to try out their inventions on June 4, with winners being announced at the Celebration of Engineering and Science at Glasgow Science Centre the following day.

Melanie Riddell, Project Manager at SCDI, said:

“The Junior Saltire Awards is a real challenge to pupils who have to overcome many issues to create a winning design.

“As well as deciding on how they should harness wave power to generate energy, there are issues such as buoyancy and stability to be considered, as well as cost-effectiveness and the impact upon the environment of their design.

“We are looking forward to seeing how teams tackle these issues, as these are all the same things that the marine renewables sector deals with day-to-day.”

Teams can also win prizes of up to £750 for their school as well as Junior Saltire medals.

The 2014 competition saw teams being challenged to create their own tidal powered generator.

The winners were Olnafirth Primary from Shetland in the P5-P7 age group, Sanday Community School from Orkney in the S1-S3 age group, and Douglas Academy from East Dunbartonshire in the S4-S6 age group.

The competition is the junior version of the £10million Saltire Prize Challenge, created by the Scottish Government to accelerate the commercial development of wave and tidal energy technology.

Schools can register for the awards or find out more by visiting or by contacting Melanie Riddell at SCDI at or 01463 218 667.


Pictured is Olnafirth Primary

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