npower Energy Challenge 2011 winners: Robin Abrams, Lincoln Smith, Jenny Lackin and team captain Andrew Baines.jpg
npower Energy Challenge 2011 winners from the University of Birmingham (left to right:) Robin Abrams, Lincoln Smith, Jenny Lackin and team captain Andrew Baines. Image used courtesy of RWE npower plc.

Each year RWE npower challenges teams of final and penultimate year students from across Europe to give them solutions to topical questions faced by the power industry and to present their ideas to a panel of industry experts for a cash prize.

What does your energy cost? That’s the question being answered by teams of four students from Metallurgy and Materials, Chemical, Civil and Electrical Engineering taking the level H Advanced Conventional Energy module within the Energy Engineering theme. And this year, out of 14 teams in the UK heats on 7th and 10th February, 4 were from Birmingham.

The 8 teams through to the final include 2 from Germany, 2 from Holland and 4 from the UK: Birmingham (2 teams), Imperial College (1) and Sheffield University (1), preserving our position as having had more teams in the finals than any other University!

Team AEC with Andrew ‘Roo’ Baines, Jenny Ladkin, Robin Abrams and Lincoln Smith have proposed an integrated solution involving ground source heat pumps and a funding mechanism aimed at helping an energy company make money whilst remaining environmentally-friendly. Team EuroGenR: Saad Janjua, Jenny Wong, Stephanie Kung and Thomas Kempk, impressed the judges with its visionary proposal for a Europe-wide collaboration on a HVDC transmission network.

We wish both teams every success in the final on 15th March – in the same Royal Institution venue as Faraday gave his talks on electricity, bringing the whole event full-circle!

Andy Williams (Metallurgy and Materials) and Lawrence Coates (Civil Engineering) are the academic staff members supporting the npower teams and who deliver Advanced Conventional Energy.

Details of the Energy Challenge can be found on