The team from Selby College have been putting the finishing touches to an EV kit car provided to them by Drax Group, as part of its initiative to boost STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education and skills.
The dedicated students went into college today (Thursday) during their Easter holiday to ensure they’re fully prepared to take on other teams from across the country at the race, in Hull (on Sunday April 28), organised by the Greenpower Education Trust and sponsored by Drax.
The college is amongst seven schools in Selby which have been provided with the electric cars as well as all the tools and equipment needed to build them by Drax Group, which owns and operates the UK’s biggest power station just outside the town.
The £35,000 initiative is part of Drax’s efforts to inspire more children to study STEM subjects and create the skilled workforce of the future that the Northern Powerhouse needs.
Engineers and staff from the power station have also been spending time with each of the teams to help assemble the cars ahead of the race.
Student Sam Bygrave, who will be one of three drivers at the wheel of the college’s car on Sunday, said:
“It’s been really enjoyable with everyone working together to get the car built and ready for the race. We’ve learnt a lot from this project.
“I’ve never driven a car like this before but I can’t wait for Sunday. We’re feeling confident, we’re in it to win it!”
Fellow student Lauren Askin, who has helped to build the car and will be there on Sunday to help the drivers and keep everything working, also said she was feeling confident for race day.
“It’s been a good experience and fun to build. I’m excited about watching the car race now and hope everything will be ok. I think we’ve got a great chance,” she said.
Drax Power CEO Andy Koss, one of the judges on race day, said:
“The students have shown real commitment to the project by coming into college during their holidays to make sure they’re in the best possible shape to do their best at the race on Sunday.
“Seeing that level of commitment means this project has hopefully gone someway to achieving what we set out to do, which is to inspire people – we want to give young people in our local communities exciting experiences to help ensure the next generation of potential employees has the skills businesses like ours need.
“A skilled workforce will enable Drax and other businesses in the North to grow, building a strong regional economy with thriving communities.”
Engineering Subject Area Manager Graeme Woodhall, from Selby College, said:
“This project has given our students an outstanding opportunity. It’s so exciting to have such a hands-on experience, with the support and encouragement from staff at Drax, all of which will culminate in the race this weekend.
“The students are taking the race very seriously – they’ve worked really hard on the car, and understand how to get the most out of it to hopefully put them in pole position on Sunday.”
Four primary schools – Barwic Parade, Camblesforth, Selby Community and Selby Abbey – receive a 15mph Goblin G2 battery-powered car, which students and teachers have assembled ready for the race.
Older students from Selby High School, Holy Family Catholic High School and Selby College have built the more powerful Formula 24 car, which can reach speeds of up to 30mph.
Both cars have taken around 15 hours to build, with the teams also being required to design their own bodywork.
The project is part of Drax’s education programme, which aims to encourage more people, including female students, to study STEM subjects and increase the opportunities they have to secure skilled jobs.
The race in Hull will take place on April 28, when there will be two sets of events featuring the Selby school teams:
- The primary school teams will take part in a series of drag and slalom races in their Goblin cars. The top drivers from each team will then race against each other in a final 1km circuit through the city centre.
- Students from the secondary schools and colleges will race the F24 cars around the same circuit in an endurance test, with the winner being the team which can complete the most laps in 90 minutes. The teams will need to switch between three drivers and maintain their cars during the race.
Drax Group’s ambition is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Its 2,600-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.
Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:
- Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
- Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com
- The Greenpower Education Trust was founded in 1999 to inspire young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through the unique challenge of designing, building and racing an electric street car.
- The event in Hull on April 28 is hosted by Greenpower and Green Port Hull, which is supported by the Regional Growth Fund, and will feature three race categories contested on a 1km track:
- Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Formula Goblin for nine to 11-year-olds tackling drag and slalom challenges;
- IET Formula 24 for 11 to 16-year-olds taking part in two 90-minute endurance races;
- IET Formula 24+ is a one-hour race for 16 to 25-year-olds.