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Student ‘Dragons’ invest over £1 million in Airbus’ electric aeroplane technology


IMG_8059In May 2015, school students from across South Gloucestershire and Bristol got to scrutinise future innovations, as businesses went head to head in a bid to win the student ‘Dragon’s’ fictional £1m investment.

Those up against each other included Airbus with their electric aeroplane technology, Hewlett Packard’s dense and energy-efficient Moonshot server system, and  Mott Macdonald’s plan for a foot bridge which would be lit using Pavegen tiles (these use kinetic energy from footsteps to generate electricity).

Following their investment the students offered the businesses suggestions on how they could improve their ideas.

This was just one of 6 activities for school students at the Your Green Future event, which took place on the 19th and 20th May 2015 at the University of the West of England, in their Department of Architecture and the Built Environment.

IMG_7999Across the two days over 440 students, from 15 local secondary schools, had the chance to work alongside 34 businesses and 16 university students in a series of creative challenges which addressed businesses’ real life sustainability issues.

This included students working with architects and planners to develop ideas which would enable future mega cities to grow food more locally. Concepts included turning disused mines into underground mushroom farms  and a tiered cake-stand-inspired tall building for growing vegetables, with light loving plants such as tomatoes and strawberries grown nearest the top.

“A wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the youth of today; to inspire and be inspired.” Skansa

In another activity students went head to head pitching innovative product ideas in the Future Retail Awards. The teams of students had worked with businesses, including Wyke Farms, River Cottage and the Better Food Company, to develop everyday items into products fit for 2025.

Competition was tough with each team voting for the most sustainable entry, in terms of people, planet and profit.

Winning products included a cheddar cheese, locally produced in a zero waste system and delivered to your door by solar powered drones, and a wetsuit that uses your kinetic energy to charge a battery which dries your wetsuit before you take it off.

“I really enjoyed being part of the event, it was fantastic to see so many young people engaged with sustainability and the environment, it was brilliant.” Better Food Company 

IMG_8329In other activities students worked with organisations such as Glastonbury Festivals, Ecotricity and  University Hospitals Bristol to came up with creative solutions for real- life waste and energy issues.  Students also visited a Career Pathways Exhibition, where they could talk to local businesses and further education providers about sustainability related jobs and qualifications.

It has been fantastic to see such a positive response from all participants, including 97% of students enjoying the event!

“The whole day was fantastic – I most enjoyed getting to come up with ideas for ways to help create a low carbon, sustainable economy; listening to other people’s ideas about doing the same; and being able to find out the kinds of jobs I could have in this field in the future.” Student

Your Green Future is a project by the educational charity Severn Wye Energy Agency. Severn Wye worked in partnership with UWE, South Gloucestershire Council, the West of England LEP, Rotary and Graphic Science to deliver this event.

Severn Wye are working in partnership with Bristol Green Capital Partnership to develop and run the Education Group, to find out more please visit our Groups and Projects page.

Further details can be found at

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