School students tackle Net Zero Island challenge at University of Bradford

Creating a Net Zero Island was the challenge set for Bradford district school students at a University of Bradford-hosted event.

The participating teams were tasked with looking at ways of producing energy for heating and cooking, managing waste and fuel transport for 30,000 people on a fictional island without creating carbon emissions.  

The University of Bradford teamed up with the region’s gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), DNV, Bechtle and the SkillsHouse for the challenge.  

After the workshop event, held on 7 February, the participating school year nine teams, aged 13 and 14, will receive help with their ideas from NGN mentors and pitch them to a panel of judges on 17 April. 

The participating schools were Dixons Trinity, Lightcliffe Academy, Woodhouse Grove, and St Bede’s and St Joseph’s.  

Dr Elaine Brown, Reader in Mechanical & Process Engineering at the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering & Digital Technologies, said: “Engineers work on solving issues that affect people and nothing is more important than those affecting our climate.  

“The knowledge and ideas generated by the young people during this fantastic Net Zero Island competition are a taster for them of the difference they can make.  

“The opportunity to learn from university and industry experts, and to meet students from different schools, will help them understand why we need diverse and different voices and ideas to address environmental and sustainability challenges.  

“At the University of Bradford sustainable thinking is embedded in all our engineering programmes, and students are tasked to consider the technical and ethical problems related to building a Net Zero future. 

“We hope that the young people taking part in this competition will be enthused and empowered to understand that their ideas and skills are needed, and that some of them may choose to continue their interest through their future studies and careers.” 

The UK government has set a target of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 as it looks to tackle and reverse the effects of climate change on the environment. 


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Image: Students from Lightcliffe Academy and St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Schools attending the Net Zero Island event held at the University of Bradford. (c) KM Images Ltd/University of Bradford