Two teams of students studying the Special Technology Programme at the University’s School of Engineering have won places in the final of the npower Energy Challenge 2008 which takes place on 17th March.

This competition tasks students with finding a solution to plug the impending ‘energy gap’ that is likely to occur before 2025, as our increasing demand for power, and the closure of existing coal, oil and nuclear plants mean there is an urgent need to meet a predicted energy shortfall.

The teams, called ‘Mind the Gap’ and ‘Watt Gap’, will have only 8 minutes to convince the Board of npower that their solution to the energy crisis is viable. 

Despite being fiercely competitive and secretive about their ideas, their examination of the data has led both teams to recommend a phased introduction of a mix of energy supplies from renewables to clean coal, rather than relying on one solution.

Dr Lawrence Coates, Director of the Special Technology Programmes says, ‘This kind of competition provides an excellent learning opportunity for students.  In four weeks they have rapidly developed their in-depth understanding of all the issues associated with energy demand and provision, picking the brains of the many energy professionals on campus including researchers from the University’s Institute for Energy Research and Policy and experts in fuel cell technology and usage.’

Other teams competing in the final include two from Cambridge University, one from Oxford University and one from Imperial College.  All finalists win £100, and the winning team will share £5000 and receive a further £5000 for its department.


For further information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.