Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Can we use the weight of stamping elephants to create energy?
If we only have renewable energy in the future, will there still be jobs for people?
These were some of the smart questions asked by students aged 8 or 9 during my guest lecture. They just had been taught all about COP 26 in Glasgow, and were eager for knowledge about energy from sea.
Let's explore Sea-energy-scienceland
So many examples of how we can generate energy from the sea would not be out of place in a science fiction movie. So I took the class on an adventure.
And sure enough, the children were in awe when they saw the Orbital tidal power device that can compete in looks with a spaceship at sea with huge propellers. Or the Mocean’s BlueX wave energy device that looks like a giant water excavator.
O2 Orbital and Mocean' BlueX wave device in Orkney waters
They loved how the EEL-Energy water current converter extracts energy by mimicking the movement of fish. These examples sparked off all kinds of questions and ideas about using biomimicry: "Can we use the weight of stamping elephants? Or better using human power: we can all stamp and dance and generate energy!"
We had a good laugh when one child stood up to show exactly how hard to stamp.
Implications for the future
There were also critical questions like “If we only have renewable energy in the future, will there still be jobs for people?” I replied that these devices still need to be operated and maintained and improved, so there will always be jobs in renewable energy.
Another child, perhaps whose parents work for an oil company, asked somewhat concerned but very eloquent: “Are there any benefits to using fossil fuels?” I reassured that the fossil fuel sector is also innovating to make fuels less polluting for the environment and that we still rely heavily on fossil fuels and the knowledge of these large companies to make the energy transition possible.
Blue energy at work
The kids split into smaller groups to work together on spotting examples of wind, wave, tidal, and floating solar energy on a large poster, designed by ENCORE partner Deftiq.
It was energizing, fun and inspiring, this afternoon teaching our next generation. It motivates me, even more, to share my knowledge and passion with as many people as possible. And as those original questions tickled my brain, it showed me as well how young people are free to unlock a vastness of possibilities.
2022: The European Year of Youth
The European Union designated 2022 the European Year of Youth, to pass a strong message of hope and care to Europe’s young people, and to mobilize action for a long-lasting positive impact on their future. Europe needs the vision of young people and their engagement and participation to build a green, digital and inclusive future. Bluespring will focus this new year especially on youth through educating and raising awareness about the sustainable Blue Economy.
So watch this space: together with DOB-Academy in Delft, Bluespring will be organizing a brand new course on offshore marine renewables in March 2022 targeting young professionals that like to work in the emerging sector of offshore renewable energy.
As part of the ENCORE project, Bluespring together with Deftiq, is developing a series of online courses about offshore renewable energy that will also be promoted in emerging regions such as Latin America. To be continued!