Build a model wind turbine!

It’s a challenge for schools, primary and secondary: to design and build a model wind turbine. There’s various sources of help, including a resource kit available for each school, provided by Orkney sponsors.

It's called the Blyth Challenge, after James Blyth, the 19th-century engineer from Kincardine who in 1887 produced the first turbine generating electricity from the wind.

Full details of what’s involved are described in a Challenge guide to download and print. It describes how 4-person teams, whether from a school class or a school science club, should design, build and test a miniature wind turbine, or alternatively produce a research portfolio on wind power.

School groups which opt for the portfolio challenge will be able to showcase it at the forthcoming Orkney Celebration of Engineering on 1 June this year. For those entering the model-building challenge, the deadline for sending in entries is midnight on Saturday 3 September, which will be during this year’s Science Festival.

The Challenge has been developed by the Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland (YESC), in a collaboration with Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF) and Orkney International Science Festival. The YESC is an initiative of the Scottish Council Development and Industry, and its northern representative Dave Craig has been involved in Science Festival schools and Family Day events for a number of years.

Support for the Challenge has come from a range of Orkney businesses and organisations, including R J Merriman Ltd, the Westray Development Trust, Rousay Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust, Sanday Development Trust, Shapinsay Development Trust and Orkney Micro-Renewables.

For everyone, the first step is to read the Challenge guide and then if further help or advice is needed, to contact Dave Craig.

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Orkney Science Festival

One of the world's longest-established and most original science festivals, providing a platform for fresh ideas in an island setting.