In April 2019 two schools from Norfolk and Suffolk will be awarded their very own 3D printer, complete with software, to use in day to day STEM activities. They will have won Cleantech East’s first ever Cleantech Challenge. In September 2018 schools from across Norfolk and Suffolk were contacted to take part in a brand-new type of challenge that would be run over several months and aim to solve a current issue using clean technology. The schools had a choice of current challenge to solve including: Clean energy, Built environment, Low carbon vehicles and more. The four finalists have now been chosen and this article aims to show you the best of the best from young minds across New Anglia in the solutions they have come up with in the last six months.

Meter Mate- Reepham High School:

Students from Reepham High School chose to focus on the pressing issue of water stress in the UK. They found in their research that in some places, particularly the South East, of the UK there is less water available per person than there is in some parts of South Sudan! To tackle the issue of water wastage and to make the public more aware of their usage the students have come up with the Mater Mate app. This is an app you can install on your smart phone 

that works much like the Smart Meters being installed in homes to monitor gas and electricity usage but for water. The idea is that not a lot of people will go outside to check their water meter regularly so the app will provide a way of checking the water usage in your home, allowing people to make smarter choices and use the valuable resource in a more efficient way. They have even created a demo of a game that will be included in the app to educate the younger generation on the perils of wasting water!

Methane Cars- Springwood High School:

Springwood High had multiple, brilliant entries into the Clean Tech Challenge ranging from bamboo shopping bags to sea filters, but the finalist selected was The Dream Team’s pitch for methane powered vehicles. Focusing on the problem that one pound of methane produced by landfill traps 25 time more heat than one pound of carbon dioxide the

students came up with a solution of how to repurpose that methane to prevent it being released into the atmosphere. Their plan is to collect methane rising to the top of landfill sites with large pipes and burn it to boil water, producing energy and using that energy to power the world’s vehicles. The students have also produced a model of their idea which we look forward to seeing in person!

Smart Village- Felixstowe Academy:

Felixstowe Academy were our only entrant to focus on the challenge of clean technology in a built environment. Students from the academy have put together a brochure and model of their very own Smart Village. 

Their plans for a villagepowered completely by renewable energy, with produce farmed nearby by local farmers and water collected by large water buts is an exciting and ambitious project. We can’t wait to talk to the students about how they would build houses with wind turbines attached to the roof!

Milk Plastic- Framlingham Earl High School:

Last, but by no means least, are the students from Framingham Earl who have created their very own plastic alternative using just milk and vinegar! Using a chemical process involving heating the solution, straining and chilling it, the students were able to create a hard, plastic 

alternative for cups and bottles that is fully biodegradable. Imagine the milk in your fridge being stored in a container also made from milk! As part of their entry the students sent us pictures of them making their own products from the substance and we are looking forward to seeing how it works in person.

At Cleantech East we were overwhelmed by the quality of entries we received for this challenge. We are proud to be pioneering such a challenge in Norfolk and Suffolk to support the STEM education of students. With new STEM jobs opening every day, and the lack of STEM recruits to fill jobs costing the UK government £1.5 billion a year we feel as through initiatives like this are of vital importance, engaging students in STEM at a young age enables them to make solid decisions in their future education and become productive citizens, solving these very real global challenges in their careers.