Project Description

St Columbus Compete in Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge

St Columbus pupils were recently invited alongside several other Scottish schools to participate in the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge as part of a wider initiative to educate pupils about careers in this industry.

All St Columbus S2 pupils were invited to take part in the school challenge which was designed to support the participants to develop skills that are applicable to STEM and improve teamworking. The hydrogen challenge was delivered by a team led by Hannah Nisbet, Science Educator, Aero Space Scientific Educational Trust (ASSET). The initial workshops delivered by Hannah’s team also contained location specific content to inform pupils about local hydrogen initiatives.

After the initial challenge, two of our winning team were invited to compete in the regional final and then, from there they were invited to compete in the Scottish Grand Final in Aberdeen!

The Hydrogen Challenge is supported and funded by a number of organisations across Scotland including Energy Transition Zone Ltd (ETZ); Scottish Power; Storegga; Abbott Risk Consulting Ltd (ARC); OPITO Ltd; Ove Arup and Partners Ltd, and Ballard. The initiative has been designed to engage with over 7,000 young people across Scotland’s eight cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling.

The workshops were designed to inspire the next generation of renewable energy engineers, guiding participants towards careers in engineering, environmental sciences and the development of cleaner, greener transport.

Topics included in the workshops were:

  • Responsible technology – designing for a sustainable future
  • Hydrogen fuel cells – exploring the role that hydrogen could play within a low carbon society
  • Iterative design – using an iterative approach to improve designs over time
  • Renewable energies vs carbon-based fuels – benefits and challenges of the energy transition
  • Mechanics – gears and ratios, balancing speed and power, friction and structural strength
  • Local awareness – informing participants of real-life applications and implications of hydrogen technology in their local area.

Class teacher, Emma Shields, said,

The pupils had a great time at this workshop and learned a lot about the industry and the opportunities in our local area.

The competitive element worked really well and we were proud to take two teams to the grand final in Aberdeen. Although our teams didn’t manage to win a prize, all pupils involved gave an excellent performance and were exemplary representatives of our school. I believe the final results were very close!