Paving Our Youngsters to Green Engineers
Climate change brings huge impact to our lives – we are having longer summers with more frequent heat waves, heavier rainfalls and rising sea levels, just to name a few. While everyone has a role to play in combating climate change, the Electrical Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE Electrical Division) identified the importance of fostering our young generation to participate by organising two annual design contests, namely Energy Innovation Project Competition and Electrical Model Design Contest, for the upper and lower forms secondary school students respectively to promote (1) awareness of energy efficiency and (2) understanding on renewable energy. Both contests encourage students to work as a team in exploring innovative ideas via design and build process, which are indeed the essence of engineering.
Energy Innovation Project Competition
Targeted at F.4 – F.6 full-time students, Energy Innovation Project Competition has been jointly organised by the HKIE Electrical Division and CLP Power since 2009, with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as co-organiser, and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) and the Hong Kong Subsidised Secondary Schools Council as supporters. The aim of this competition is to encourage creative ideas on energy efficient application through the related promotion campaign to the community.
Students are invited to submit a project proposal in a team of four outlining their ideas. Shortlisted teams are then sponsored and given about four months, usually from December to March, to implement their projects. A professional engineer from HKIE Electrical Division is assigned to each team on request as mentor to provide advice on project execution. Technical visits and seminars are also arranged to enrich student’s knowledge on energy utilisation and efficiency.
Teams are required to present their products with a project report for the first round of evaluation by end March, in which 10 teams will enter the final competition in May. Winners will be selected for various awards based on their quality of work, team cooperation, innovation and presentation skills. The best team will be named the champion and offered a study tour to visit green energy related facilities to broaden their horizon and arouse their interest in engineering.
2014/15 is the sixth year of the Energy Innovation Project Competition. 78 entries were received with 34 teams shortlisted for the competition.
Electrical Model Design Contest
On the other hand, Electrical Model Design Contest, previously named Wind Turbine Model Design Contest, has been running for F.1 – F.3 full-time students since 2012. Education Bureau also joined as co-organiser this year to gain the contest a wider recognition among secondary schools and to achieve synergised promotion effect. The contest aims to promote electrical engineering and wise use of energy among lower form students through creation of an electrical model. Its theme embraces different kinds of electrical machines, changing regularly to not only attract interest of participants but also enable them to appreciate various technologies in electrical engineering. This year hydro-driven electrical model was chosen as the theme.
41 secondary schools enrolled for the 2015 contest and each was given two motors to build their own hydro power model to maximise electrical energy output. To encourage creativity there is no constraint on the design except to use the motors provided. A briefing session was arranged in January to introduce the contest objective with sharing of some best models over the past years. Test setup was displayed so teams can have a better understanding on how the contest will be conducted in May. In addition to total energy output, the judging panel will also score on creativity, workmanship and presentation of the project.
Similar to Energy Project Innovation Competition, technical visit will be arranged to enhance the students’ knowledge in electrical engineering and their awareness on energy efficiency. Furthermore, as part of the prizes, another technical visit to major electrical installations in Hong Kong or the Mainland China during summer will be organised for the participants to enrich their understanding on electrical engineering.
Energy Project Innovation Competition and Electrical Model Design Contest have been receiving very positive responses among secondary schools and students. The two contests not only provide excellent opportunities for youngsters to get engineering exposure, but also encourage creativity in coming up with solutions through the promotion campaign to combat climate change.
For more information on HKIE Electrical Division or the two named contests, please visit: http://el.hkie.org.hk/