Opening its doors to the public last Thursday, London’s Olympic Park hosted Shell’s Make the Future London festival, home this year to first ever Driver’s World Championship, an ultra-energy-efficient driving challenge. More than 3000 students from schools and universities in 29 countries around the world took part in Shell’s Eco-marathon Europe over the course of the weekend, some scrambling to get their cars finished just hours before the starting flag fell.
At times, it may appear to some that innovative technologies and products tend to spring up out of the blue – that John or Jane Doe woke up one morning and engineered a working product by nightfall. In rare cases, this is (more or less) the case. However, more often than not the truth is that the innovative technologies we see in the news were developed rather more meticulously – the result of continuous iterative processes that significantly transform a product from its original concept. ‘nowlight’, a renewable energy solution produced by company Deciwatt, is one such example – generating instant on-demand power independent of the weather.
Letitia Wright with Shell Eco-marathon students (Left to right: Shaniyaa Holness-Mckenzie, Hannah Clark, Letitia Wright, Kim Everett and Olga Posopkina) – Credit: BP
Engineering Real-life Heroes
On Monday (25 June), Shell launched a commendable online film — Engineering Real-life Heroes— as part of their annual #makethethefuture campaign to inspire the next generation of innovators. The film aims to shift current perceptions of STEM subjects and help reduce entry barriers to the sector for young people — young women in particular.
The representation of women in the UK within technical fields compares poorly with the rest of Europe – idling around 23% of the STEM workforce. As Dr Larissa Suzuki — the 2017 WES Young Engineer Award winner — recently highlighted, one of the main reasons for this low entry rate is the scarcity of visible role models in the profession for women.
For the first time in 30 years, Shell Eco-marathon Europe is coming to London in summer 2016. Shell Eco-marathon is a global student challenge, encouraging the brightest student minds to design and build ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. The winning car is the one which travels the furthest distance on one litre of fuel. Currently, the record to beat stands at 3,771 km.