Energy Coast UTC Elements Week 2021

Case study

Energy Coast UTC Students took part in an Elements Work Awareness week in March 2021

The Brief

In 2035 petrol powered cars will no longer be sold in the UK, from which point the electric car will become the most common means of personal transport. West Cumbria currently has one of the lowest level of charge-points in the UK. While it is expected many people will charge their car at home, the above average distances people commute to work in West Cumbria means that external charging will be essential and regular filling stations may not be able to meet this demand. Having charge-points at work may help meet this demand. If businesses are able to generate, store and provide electrical energy to cars on-site then this provides an ideal solution by ensuring the electricity is generated through zero-carbon means, reducing reliance on the national grid, increasing the reputation of the business, potentially providing extra revenue for the business.

The brief was for the teams to design a system for workplaces (offices/factories) that generates renewable electricity and delivers the energy when needed to employees’ cars.

The students were asked to include or consider in their solution:

  • The overall design and how it could be implemented to different sizes or locations of workplaces;
  • Research into existing technologies and how they are integrated into the system;
  • What technologies can be developed or innovated further to improve the system;
  • The cost-affectiveness of the solution and how much investment would be needed for installation;
  • The benefits of the solutions and selling the reasons as to why this should be done;
  • Maintenance required;
  • The manufacturing and procurement process (supply chain) required to deliver the system;
  • The carbon cost of production;
  • The lifespan of the solution.

What solutions did the teams come up with?

Team 1

Team 1 looked at wind turbines and solar panels as the renewable energy source. Their solution installed charging points at service/fuel stations and had electric cars manufactured with dual batteries to ensure they had sufficient charge to get them between charging points.

Team 2

Team 2’s solution used hydro electricity to create power that would be stored in batteries for use in wireless charging points.

Team 3

Team 3’s solution powered the charging points through wind turbines and solar energy, with solar panels over the parking spaces where the cars would be charged and a wind turbine used to make up any shortfall in power supply.

Impact

I enjoyed taking part in the Elements Work Awareness Week

100%

Strongly Agreed or Agreed

I feel more informed about the world of work

96%

Strongly Agreed or Agreed

I have a greater understanding of the work options available

82%

Strongly Agreed or Agreed

Quotes

I have developed my key skills much more than I expected such as my leadership. I was able to manage my group well which I certainly didn’t expect.
Student – March 21
Being allowed the freedom to work on a project and improving my key employability skills.
Student – March 21
I would definitely recommend the Elements work awareness week to other students; the reason for this is that not only was it fun and unique but it is a brilliant way to start thinking more seriously about our future. If you are a student that lacks in community skills this…read more
Student – March 21
It was very eye-opening into the world of work and the opportunities that are available for me in the future.
Student – March 21
I really enjoyed this week, it has helped me gain skills i thought was impossible to achieve.
Student – March 21