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Three Highland Councils from Glen Urquhart, Tain and Plockton are set to compete in the final of the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge in Glasgow in November as the city hosts the United Nations climate change conference COP26

By Calum MacLeod

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PUPILS from across the Highlands demonstrated their ingenuity in support of a carbon neutral future, with three schools from the north now going on to take part in a national final in Glasgow.

Glen Urquhart High School, Tain Royal Academy and Plockton High School will represent the Highland Council area at the final of the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge, which is being held in Glasgow in November as the city hosts the United Nations climate change conference, COP26.

The successful Highland representatives were among 7000 second year students nationwide who competed to build the best green hydrogen powered Lego vehicle.

Regional heats took place around Scotland, including Millburn Academy in Inverness, which hosted the Highland area final.

Pupils took the opportunity to build and test drive green hydrogen-fuelled vehicles of their own design with the winning teams building the Lego cars which travelled the furthest on the zero emission fuel.

The Glen Urquhart, Tain and Plockton pupils now have an opportunity to win a Lego Robot Inventor, among other prizes, at the Glasgow final.

Also taking part in the competition were hosts Millburn Academy and fellow city school Charleston Academy, Kilchuimen Academy in Fort Augustus, Nairn Academy, Ross-shire schools Ullapool High School, Invergordon Academy, Gairloch High School, Dingwall Academy and Alness Academy, Grantown Grammar School, Portree High School, Wick High School, Golspie High School, Thurso High School, Dornoch Academy, Kinlochleven High School, Lochaber High School and Ardnamurchan High School.

The challenge was supported by Arcola Energy, ITM Power and ScottishPower, who have formed a partnership to help educate people on the importance of green hydrogen in tackling the ongoing climate emergency.

Barry Carruthers, hydrogen director at ScottishPower, said: “Scotland is about to host one of the most important climate summits ever, COP26, and we want to help bring some of the energy and excitement around COP26 to schools across Scotland.

“We’re currently working to deliver a number of green hydrogen projects in Scotland, but we know that we still have work to do to help educate people about this critical, zero emission fuel and the role it plays in achieving Scotland’s overall net zero goals. This green hydrogen challenge will help engage Scottish students in how green hydrogen can help decarbonise our daily life by providing a clean fuel alternative to heavy industries and transport and supporting hundreds of green jobs.”

ITM Power chief executive Graham Cooley added: “It is vitally important we work with young people as they grow up during the rapid shift to a net zero economy.

“These hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are being built by the generation who will inherit the hydrogen technology that we at ITM Power are creating today. We hope to learn as much from them as they do from us.”

Green hydrogen is made when a renewable electricity source is used to power an electrolyser which splits water into its two elements; hydrogen and oxygen.

The zero emissions fuel can be used to decarbonise sectors that cannot be powered by electricity alone, including large transport vehicles like trucks, trains or buses and heavy industry or high temperature industrial processes.

The contest is also supported by the Scottish Cities Alliance and the Hydrogen Accelerator, with renewable energy specialist Arup subsidising travel expenses for the north schools.

Related Story – Open invitation to Highland residents to join a virtual climate fèis taking place this week on the Isle of Skye

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