Monifieth pupils win top science award

From left - Monifieth High School pupils Luke Thomson, Logan Cosgove, Ben Birtwistle and Thomas Ridge with their renewable energy device.
From left - Monifieth High School pupils Luke Thomson, Logan Cosgove, Ben Birtwistle and Thomas Ridge with their renewable energy device.

Pupils at an Angus School who designed and built their own renewable energy device are celebrating after winning a nationwide competition.

Monifieth High School triumphed at the Junior Saltire Award after inventing a floating Wave Energy Converter, using wave power to create electricity.

The pupils put their gadget through its paces at the University of Edinburgh’s FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility – the world’s most sophisticated ocean simulator.

And after getting the thumbs-up from judges, the team consisting of Luke Thomson, Logan Cosgove, Ben Birtwistle and Thomas Ridge were named winners at SCDI’s Celebration of Engineering and Science at the Glasgow Science Centre, receiving Junior Saltire trophies and a cash prize of £750 for STEM resources at their school.

Team member Ben Birtwistle said: “Our invention used a laser-cut flywheel which has 15 magnets around the outside, a steel shaft through the middle and a ball bearing on the bottom which helps the flywheel to rotate.

“As it rotates, the magnets brush past 3D-printed copper coil spindles, and that’s how electricity is generated.

“It took five months from start to finish to make, and we were pleased to find out that the design worked in the tank at FloWave.”

The team received their prize from Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn.

Mr Hepburn said: “The efforts of pupils and the guidance they have received from teachers and industry shows the innovative ways in which our young people are learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“I am proud that the Scottish Government is supporting this competition and impressed with the range of skills that the pupils have demonstrated through it. Congratulations go to them and everyone who has supported them.”

More than 600 pupils from around Scotland took part in the competition, which is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the SCDI in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Diane Hill, Energy Partnership Manager at SDS, said: “It was hard work for the judges to decide on winners given the quality and the creativity of the designs of all the finalists.

“What the winning teams showed was a real understanding of the renewable energy industry and the demands it faces.

“We hope the competition will encourage all pupils who participated to consider this growing sector of our economy as a future career option.”

The competition is split into primary and secondary age groups, with teams having to submit an initial design brief followed by evidence of their finished model.

The Junior Saltire Award for primary schools was won by Port Ellen Primary School from Islay, while Benarty Primary School from Lochore in Fife and Holyrood Secondary School from Glasgow were Highly Commended in their age categories.

There were also Special Commendations for Hutton Primary School from Boreland near Lockerbie and Whiting Bay Primary School from Arran.

Melanie Riddell, Programme Manager at SCDI, said: “Scotland is at the forefront of the global renewable energy industry and so it’s important that our young people are given an understanding of the opportunities it offers.

“The Junior Saltire Award does that, with the SCDI’s network of Young Engineers and Science Clubs giving them the chance to explore further the broad range of careers options that are available in our STEM sectors.”