Eastbourne student wins national engineering award

A year 10 student from Eastbourne has won a national engineering competition.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 10:23 am

Ludovica Knight, who attends St Catherine’s College, came first in the intermediate engineering category of the The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.

Her winning project ‘Mechanical Energy Storage for African Village’ uses a model wind turbine, an old clock spring and gearbox connected to a generator to show that wind energy can be collected in the spring and stored for later use.

If scaled up, her project shows it’s possible to make energy storage available to remote windy places.

Ludovica said her dad gave her the idea when he told her about an aid worker who was based in a village in Africa.

She said, “The village had a water well that needed energy to pump the water out. They have tried solar and battery power but they were not reliable as it is in a very harsh environment.

“The village is in a very windy area so I thought of using a wind turbine connected to a mechanical battery so I made a proof of principle model which used an old clock spring and gear box to store the energy from the wind which can be released on demand to create electricity.”

More than 200 young people submitted projects to this year’s Big Bang Competition, which looks at areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Ludovica Knight SUS-210625-091020001

Ludovica has won £750 in prize money, a trophy and certificate.

She said, “It’s an amazing achievement that has given me great confidence and has inspired me to do more projects and solve more problems.”

Previous winners have gone on to great things such getting backing from businesses for their projects, setting up their own businesses, taking part in conference presentations to industry professionals as well as appearing on TV and radio shows to talk about their projects.

Ludovica said she hopes to study engineering at university.

She said, “I would also like to learn how to fly, the physics of flight has always interested me and I have several pilot friends of the family who have always encouraged me to aim for the stars.

“I think girls should take the opportunity to get involved in STEM subjects, they are fun and an adventure and with so many different elements, there is something for everyone in STEM. STEM is the gateway to improving the way we live and the world around us, so be part of it.”

Dr Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK which organises the competition, said, “There is no denying that students have had to deal with a lot of disruption to their learning in recent months, and the quality of this year’s entries is a testament to their talent, dedication and creativity under these difficult circumstances.

“Huge congratulations to Ludovica whose innovative project has seen her awarded as the intermediate winner in the engineering category of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.

“At a time when we could all use a big dose of optimism for the future, the inventiveness and skill we’ve seen this year’s Big Bang Competition has been a reassuring and inspiring tonic for all those involved in the judging – so we’d like to extend a huge congratulations and heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated.”