An ingenious idea from students that could potentially create a huge amount of energy won top prize in a challenge set by Network Rail.
Teams of Year 9 students from The Milton Keynes Academy and St Paul’s Catholic school spent 10 weeks on the project as part of an initiative to inspire young people to build a career in engineering or science.
The students really rose to the challenge to find new energy-saving and environmentally friendly ideas for Milton Keynes railway station.
The best overall prize went to the Academy’s Green Tech team who believe that piezo cells could be put on train tracks and the weight of the train would create electricity which would be captured into overhead wires.
Team member Evan Ritchie explained that the students initially researched different ways of creating energy and realised that when piezo crystals are compressed they produce an electric field which can be captured to produce voltage.
He added: “As far as we know, piezo cells have never before been used for trains. We really think it would work.”
Other team members Carl Bryant, Jake Bains, Jesse Tachie, Tomohisa Suedo and Brian Wrobel said that they enjoyed working on the project and hoped that Network Rail would explore the idea further.
Prizes also went to the Academy’s E-Bolt team for being most technically innovative. Team members are Kimberley Andrews, Aysha Khatun, Bethan Robb, Keith Jones, Al Amin and Muse Dahir.
The award for the best teamwork/presentation went to the Academy’s The Greener Side of Life team consisting of Barke Ali, Nadia Sulemain, Hashim Halane, Callum Ferdinando, Andrew Sawyer and James Parker.
Student Reece Hagland and his team focused on saving energy and built a model showing how solar panels on the roof of the building would be effective. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed working on the project and it has been very interesting.”
Recycling was the theme of another team entry, with the suggestion that a recycling shop be set up inside the railway station building.
Suzanne Lewin said: “After working on this project I would now consider being an engineer. It shows you how much you can achieve if you put the effort in.”
Director of Personal Development, Miss Gockelen, congratulated all the students involved for their hard work and ingenuity. She said: “I never cease to be amazed at the creativity and entrepreneurial skills of Academy students. This project has shown us that we have a fantastic group of potential engineers.”