School pupils from across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have built their own offshore wind turbines as part of a renewable energy education project.
Youngsters from Dunecht, Skene and Meethill primary schools recently visited Aberdeen Science Centre, where a giant 1,800 litre water tank was temporarily installed in the garden.
After working with Belgian organisation OffshoreWind4Kids to learn about what make a turbine work and how wind can be used to produce energy, the children built their own model turbines, designed to withstand specific wind and wave conditions.
They then put their wind turbines to the test in the tank before exploring the centre’s 60 interactive exhibits.
Global safety and skills organisation OPITO has given the turbines to Aberdeen Science Centre on permanent loan, which will allow many more schools to have the chance to build their own prototype models.
OffshoreWind4Kids is designed to educate children in the field of engineering, technology and renewable energy.
This is the second OffshoreWind4Kids event in Aberdeen in recent weeks, with youngsters from city schools trying out their own kits at the beach in the summer.
Bryan Snelling, chief executive of Aberdeen Science Centre, said: “We are very grateful to OPITO for the permanent loan of 14 of the model wind turbine kits, which will allow us to run workshops for more schools and community groups.
“Renewable energy is more important than ever as we navigate the energy transition and we work closely with OPITO and other partners to provide topical STEM education and workshops.
“We hope these and our mix of hands-on exhibits will inspire visitors of all ages, but particularly young people, to relate STEM to their career choices as the energy industry works towards achieving its Net Zero targets.”
Andy Williamson, Senior Vice President of Energy Transition and Global STEM Lead at OPITO said: “Offshore wind will play an essential role in the future of energy, creating exciting new job roles for young people. Inspiring and engaging children in STEM-related activities from an early age is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the infinite possibilities a career in the energy industry can offer.
“The OffshoreWind4Kids initiative, and the Wind Turbine Project, provide valuable hands-on experience while creating a deeper understanding of renewable energy. We are delighted to be involved and provide turbine kits to Aberdeen Science Centre to allow these events to continue with schools throughout Aberdeen city and shire.
“As an industry, it is our responsibility to attract the next generation of young people with the passion, creativity, and determination to imagine a different future.”
OPITO has been committed to inspiring the next generation to pursue a career in the energy industry for decades. Its extensive programme of resources and events include a £600,000 investment in Aberdeen Science Centre’s OPITO Theatre of Energy, the only one of its kind in the UK, offering an immersive experience for visitors.
Recently awarded 5-star visitor attraction status, the centre reopened to the public in 2020 after a major project to create an aspirational science centre which reflects the STEM priorities for both industry and education.
The centre’s exhibits are aimed at all ages and are themed into six zones: Energy; Space; Life Sciences; Make It, Test It; and the dedicated area for the under-6s, as well as the Shell Learning Zone, where STEM is brought to life.
Aberdeen Science Centre’s £4.7million redevelopment was made possible by generous support and funding from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome – with additional funding provided by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeen City Council.
The project secured a further £1.5million from funders and sponsors including Shell, Equinor, bp, The Robertson Trust, TAQA and CNOOC International as well as OPITO, to deliver quality exhibits and programmes to enhance the overall visitor experience at the venue, as well through its outreach work.
For more information on Aberdeen Science Centre or to book a visit, go to https://aberdeensciencecentre.org/