Sustainable projects showcased in unique engineering event


A wind-powered turbine, water filter research, a rainwater harvesting project and a newly built pedal-power cinema were showcased at the University of Sheffield as part of a unique event designed to show how engineers can have a positive influence on the world.

The Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Sheffield Showcase demonstrated the exciting sustainable development projects run by members of the Sheffield student branch of EWB and highlighted the various ways in which industry can get involved to help create a sustainable future.

Industry experts, academics and students were given the chance to find out more about how EWB can create global engineers, as well as explore the technology on show, including a wind turbine constructed by students within the University´s EWB group.

The turbine has a top power rating of 500w at a wind speed of 10m/s and an average of 200w – enough to power 10 laptops. Constructed using wood, steel and epoxy resin over a seven month period, the five foot high structure was made as part of the group’s focus on sustainable energy.

Other projects on display included the water project, which looks at both water filters to provide clean and safe drinking water and rainwater harvesting for water collection. The project has involved working closely with the University’s Department of Estates in preparation for installation on University grounds.

The pedal-powered projects also displayed included a pedal cinema which is being built in partnership with student-led film festival No Limits, and a pedal-powered smoothie maker, which attendees were able to try out for themselves.

The University’s Outreach and Access Scheme, where students have been visiting local schools to promote international development issues and the role which engineers play, also showcased its work. In addition, visitors to the event were able to find out more about training sessions available, from talks to week-long residential courses, organised by the EWB committee to increase the knowledge of their members and the wider University about international development and sustainable issues.

Speakers at the event included Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engineering at the University, who offered his support to the scheme and encouraged students and industry to engage. He was joined by Andrew Lamb, CEO of EWB-UK and Katie Cresswell-Maynard, Head of Research at EWB-UK, who illustrated how industry can support students who take on EWB-UK research projects.

Emily Nix, aged 22, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student from the University of Sheffield and President of the EWB Sheffield branch, said: “We organised the showcase to highlight the importance of sustainability in engineering today – to inspire students, academics and industry that through engineering we can make a real difference. It has also been a great way to recognise all the great work that EWB-UK and our branch members do!

“It has been a great success and the amount of involvement and interest driven from the showcase has been incredible.”