The inhabitants of an island are considering stopping using fossil fuels to generate electricity. Before going ahead with this step they need to do some research and planning and have asked you to help them with this process. Over the coming week you and your team will be involved in a number of challenges, which will culminate in an exhibition where you display the results of the learning you have been doing in sciences, technologies and geography. Your exhibition stand should help the islanders understand some of the issues they will need to consider if they are going to stop using fossil fuels to generate electricity. Success criteria will be negotiated at the beginning of the week’s challenges.
Based on your findings from challenge one on individual user groups, work out an approximate energy usage for the whole island. Could all the energy needs of the island be provided by wind, tides or waves? Decide as a team the kind of information you will need to know about renewable technologies to help you answer this question
How will you analyse this information? What criteria will you use for comparing the different possible renewable technologies? Which other factors will you need to consider?
You will need to use a range of skills to help you with this problem. Skills such as planning, research, gathering information, gathering data, displaying the information and data, evaluating what it means, presenting your findings. Create a plan of how to do this. You may choose to allocate responsibilities to different team members. Discuss as a team how you will manage the task. Questions to help your thinking: • How do you know who is doing what? • How will you check progress / manage time? • Which team-work skills will be important?
The following web links are starting points for your research: • Pelamis, ( http://www.pelamiswave.com/ ) • Oyster ( http://www.aquamarinepower.com/ ) • SeaGen ( www.seageneration.co.uk
) • Proven Energy ( http://www.provenenergy.co.uk/ ) • Scottish Power Renewables ( http://www.scottishpowerrenewables.com/ ) • The Met Office ( http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/ ) • Eigg primary: Our Green island
• Which skills and knowledge did you have to apply to this challenge? • How did your group manage the task? • Which aspects of the challenge did your group do well? • Is there anything you would change about how your group worked? • Why is research and analysis of the problem important to engineers when working with a community?