Thursday, 19 December 2013

During the course of the past few weeks, the Eco Group at BBHS have been getting their act together and beginning to expand their projects by creating links with other schools, etc. We are doing this by writing proposal letters for visits to their school to host “fun days” where we will run activities such as making junk models and other creative things to promote recycling and inform on how there are different methods of recycling, other than just using a different type of bin.
We have also been organising recycling projects with our science department to recycle cans that they have been using for experiments and we are even looking into getting money for recycling our unneeded resources. This will benefit our school as well as the environment as we are producing less landfill waste which is one small step to a brighter, cleaner future!
Aside from the local projects, we have also been trying to expand our projects to nationwide ones by entering competitions such as the Raspberry Pi competition to design a poster to show a project that you are carrying out using a Pi. The poster we submitted was by Tom Saunders and myself and was based on our project to power a Pi via the Solar Panel! We will also be looking into the Google Science Fair of next year and considering entering that to expand our projects even further - worldwide!
Keep visiting our Solar Schools page for more information on our projects - our new year’s resolution is to keep the blog updated more frequently!
This blog post was written by Shay Jordan, check out his personal blog here!

Friday, 15 November 2013

It has been heralded as the solution to the decline in fossil fuels, the solution to global warming and the power source of the future. But is nuclear fusion really the best option for us to pursue?

Nuclear fusion works by harnessing the same reaction that occurs in the sun. Atoms of hydrogen are fused together to make helium, releasing huge amounts of energy in the process. On Earth, scientists believe that we could achieve this using sea water, which would provide over 30 million years of fuel.

Fusion also produces high amounts of output energy from low amounts of input energy: the current record of gain is .7, meaning that the energy put in is returned, plus 70% more. The aim of fusion researchers is to create a reactor that can run without any input energy: a self-sufficient fusion plant. Producing no carbon dioxide or radioactive waste products, fusion is unlike fossil fuels and nuclear fission stations, such as the recently approved Hinkley Point C power plant, in that it is a clean source of power.

But is nuclear fusion the way forward? The ITER facility, currently under construction in southern France, is expected to inspire a transition from traditional energy production to an age of commercial fusion reactors. However, the cost of this facility alone is very high: as of July 2013, it is expected to cost €15 billion. Some scientists and politicians believe that the cost of fusion research is too high to justify what is, in essence, an experiment. There is no guarantee that these projects will even achieve their goal of making this experimental technology viable for public use. The question we must ask ourselves is simple: is it worth spending so much money on research projects that may or may not yield results?

The costs come not from the fuel, but from the reactors themselves. Fusion reactors use rings of incredibly strong electromagnets to pinch and squeeze the hydrogen gasses in order to produce the temperatures required for the process to take place (200m degrees.) This hi-tech equipment not only costs millions to produce, but is also unreliable and must be maintained in order to keep the reactor running safely. Even if commercial fusion reactors were developed, each one would cost potentially billions in order to build and maintain. However, many people believe that these costs are a necessary sacrifice in order to future proof our energy industry against the inevitable demise of fossil fuels.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

A few weeks ago, following our trips to the recycling plant and EcoTech centre, we gave a presentation on what we have been up to and our future plans with the Eco group to our local MP, Mr Peter Aldous, as well as our school's guests from India - the head teachers of Him Academy Public School.

I was hoping the whole process would run smoothly, but our first problem was when we first arrived at our presentation room - there was no computer or projector. Once we finally got a computer and projector and set them up to work (with only 7 minutes until the presentation) we encountered another problem which was purely down to my wrong-doings! The night before, when I was making the PowerPoints, I had three which were all linked together; a main one with pictures from the trips and using the solar panel, a one with depressing info graphics on global warming and climate change, and one to accommodate the points talked about by my friends, Tom and Tom.

Upon setting up the computer I went to open the presentations when I found that I had forgot to bring in the main PowerPoint, with the pictures! Quickly we had to throw together a PowerPoint for that time slot in the presentation which would fit in okay.

Other than these few problems, the presentation went excellent! By the looks of things our guests were impressed and we had done well. After our presentation our guests from India did a presentation on composting which was very interesting and we will definitely be taking some of their ideas!

We would like to thank Mr Peter Aldous and the Head Teachers of Him Academy Public School for taking the time to come to our school and listening to what we had to say about everything we have done.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Last week 10 students from our school's Eco group went on a day out to both the Viridor Recycling Centre in Thetford and the EcoTech Center in Swaffham.

We learned a lot about different ways of recycling and how it is all done which I found very interesting at the Recycling Plant and I enjoyed this part of the trip very much! Next, we went to the GreenBritain EcoTech Centre in Swaffham which is home to the largest, and one of the only, wind turbines with a safe viewing platform. Upon arrival of the EcoTech centre we had a look around all of the things going on, like their gardens and various other things. Next, we went up the turbine which consisted of 306 steps to the top. Once we arrived at the top we stayed up there for about 10 minutes and and the view was amazing! Although it wasn't the clearest day in the world and there was a lot of fog, we could still see out for about 5 miles! This trip was very beneficial and I really enjoyed it, thank you to Mr Champion, Mr Hine and everybody else evolved in the organising of the trip!

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