Young engineers from Sheffield take part in carbon-free challenge at The Diamond

Taking time out of their summer holiday, young engineers and programmers aged eight to 18 took part in a carbon-free initiative called the Arcola Energy Hydrogen Hack in The Diamond Building last week.

Forming part of the Arcola’s long-running not-for-profit education programme, the Schools Hydrogen Challenge, the event aimed to raise awareness among young people of the benefits of fuel cell and hydrogen technology.

During the week-long event, 10 young inventors used their creativity and engineering skills to hack hardware; making it move faster, longer or to take its first steps as an animate object. The youngsters chose an object from a box provided such as a toy car, duck, boat or robot and using their RPi, Arduino and the Fuel Cell provided made it do something new. They even got to sit in and explore a Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.

Dr Joanna Bates, University Teacher in Multidisciplinary Engineering Education at Sheffield, said: “This has been a really creative, innovative and fun way for young people to learn more about clean energy and the role it plays in ensuring a sustainable future for everyone.”

The Hydrogen Hack event took place in 10 regional centres across the UK culminating in a national, final event in London where the winner received the Arcola Cup. Although our inventors didn’t win the main prize, the judges special prize was awarded to James Dawson-Jones (age 12), Rio Mema (age 8), Erissa Mema (age 13) and Tabitha Smith (age 11) who created a robot with a smiling face and expressions that also goes to sleep. As well as being a toy the objective was to create something that could be used to help in genuine disaster situations.