Empowering the Next Generation
At Tyseley Energy Park we are committed to inspiring and empowering the next generation. Through numerous projects and outreach events we have been collaborating with local residents, schools, colleges and universities to develop green skills and showcase career paths in the sustainable technologies sector.
Below are just a few quotes and examples of work from a selection of inspiring students we have had the pleasure of working with in recent years.
“I grew up with ever changing interests and career goals, but underlying this was a desire to develop a versatile skill set to use in a sustainability-based career. This led me to study Chemical Engineering and undertake an internship at the Birmingham Energy Institute, which has enabled me to expand my knowledge of climate positive energy usage. I have strong aspirations about developing innovative and existing technologies to support to shift towards a decarbonised society.”
“I’m from Qatar and studied Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham. My work at TEP and the BEI, focused on improving educational information for schools and how we can encourage more women to work in STEM subjects. I also collaborated with academics on Nuclear Energy.”
“I studied Chemical Engineering at University of Birmingham, and I worked on circular economy projects during an internship at TEP. After I graduated, I was lucky enough to join TEP as the Net Zero Delivery Lead. I now work at the site on projects relating to heat decarbonisation, reducing waste, green energy and hydrogen transport.”
“I’m from Pakistan and worked in an international research support initiative program in Biosciences at the University of Birmingham. My work at TEP focused on the dissemination of my research to encourage more women to work in Biosciences internationally”
“I’m from Stoke and I’m studying Data Science at Keele University. My work at TEP and Birmingham Energy Institute looks at energy data across the region and how we can harness this for better analysis and design.”
“I live near Tyseley and connected to Tyseley Energy Park through the Small Heath Development Programme. I met with Professor Aad van Moorsel at the University of Birmingham and am working on Digital Twins and data for Urban Analytics. I hope to go on to an apprenticeship in data analysis.”
“I’m from Kingsbury where I studied GCSEs including History and Astronomy! I recently completed a Master of Arts in History of Warfare at University of Birmingham. I worked on a History project while at TEP and the BEI, with Sandy Robertson. I’m now working on projects such as Games Design and I hope to eventually start my own creative business.”
“I’m from Reading and I studied Geography at University. I spent a year studying in Copenhagen as well as an internship with the Fijian Government. At TEP I worked on the River Cole Community Commons to investigate solutions for plastic pollution. I attended COP26 to campaign on Climate and Energy, so I have decided to pursue MSc Climate Change Science and Policy.”
“I studied Physics at University of Nottingham, and I worked on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Hydrogen storage projects during an internship at TEP. After this experience I was motivated to go and study a Masters degree in Green Building at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.”
“As part of personal challenge week at my school, I – as a year 12 student – took part in the nation week of work experience and got the pleasure to be able to spend some of this time with Mr Randeree from the Birmingham Energy Institute (BEI) at the University of Birmingham. During these couple days I got to experience activities ranging from inclusivity in the classroom with physics teachers to visiting the largest green hydrogen electrolyser in the UK!”
“Overall, my time at the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre and Tyseley Energy Park was a very enlightening experience, which I benefited from greatly, as all the talks and meetings I attended only strengthened and fuelled my aspirations to enter such a field. I would definitely recommend paying a visit if you are unsure as to what the job entails, as you will leave with not only a great insight into the industry/future of energy development, but also an understanding of the several other tasks taken on by staff in this profession.”
Blog post from George Viant - Year 12
As part of personal challenge week at my school, I – as a year 12 student – took part in the nation week of work experience and got the pleasure to be able to spend some of this time with Mr Randeree from the Birmingham Energy Institute (BEI) at the University of Birmingham. During these couple days I got to experience activities ranging from inclusivity in the classroom with physics teachers to visiting the largest green hydrogen electrolyser in the UK!
On the first I was involved in the teaching conference for secondary school teachers in physics. I demonstrated an augmented reality tool which shows how Tyseley Energy Park and its surroundings (called Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District) are paving the way for a greener future. It was great to see this 3D imaging which can be used in future to help decision-making. And it was a foreshadowing of seeing it all for real on my second day!
As a student at a high school and sixth form centre, I thought the teaching conference gave me a rather different and interesting angle to view the day’s events. The first session was about Exoplanets and although I both don’t have much of an interest in space and I only caught the last half of the session, it quickly grabbed my attention as a topic I had not learnt much about previously. This lead me to think about the content we are taught at GCSE’s and the fact that, yes, although we do not have the time to learn or be taught everything about every part of physics in the classroom, students should at least be given a little bit of information outside of the curriculum that we would hope lights off a spark in their brain that leads to research at home – due to genuine interest in the topic or the concept. This leads nicely onto the next activity.
Next, we had a choice of various sessions to attend based on the persons interests. I was lucky enough to attend a session on the ‘Top Tips for Inclusive Science Teaching’ in which we learnt much about not only including people from differing ethnic backgrounds and gender identities, but also in general how to encourage more young people to take an interest in Physics as a subject. Here I am going to focus on the last point as during the session I took great interest in this topic – due to personal experiences. I come from a public secondary school in the West Midlands where we had many great physicists in our Separate Science classes of more than 60 students, but less than 15% of those continued to carry on Physics in further education at the school. Granted, some of them would have left to attend other colleges but I would argue 15% is still a very small number for a group of people like this – as it also does not include the students that were not doing separate sciences. There are so many careers that link into physics, so you may be questioning why more students didn’t carry this subject on further. Much of it was linked into the idea that many students (especially at a younger age) ‘switch off’ when posed with large amount of new and difficult information to process as they do not feel that they will be able to completely understand it… So why try right? The example used was specific heat capacity and how when students are confronted with an equation (using possibly 4 completely new symbols) that they must understand and memorise, many of them from the get-go ‘switch off’ as they have been overloaded with information and do not think they are capable of completing this task. So instead, using an example of Baked Beans™ and heating them up in a microwave. This way students would be less likely to ‘switch off’ as it is a much easier concept to grab hold of but could also see how specific heat capacity is used in the real world and link that into various careers that use this concept of specific heat capacity. Being able to do this should grab the attention of those that would have otherwise switched off, but also those students that often do not pay attention in their physics lessons as they do not see how they may use it in the real world.
Many of the resources from that session can be found at: iop.org/InclusiveResources
On rather short notice for the rest of the day I was accommodated by Avery Cunningham from the engineering department at the University and was able to take part in a short Mechanical Engineering session based on the designs of Wind Turbines and how they differ depending on location – due to speed and direction of wind etc.
I started the second, and unfortunately the last day at the BEIC (Tyseley Energy Park Birmingham). On this day they were hosting a group of Chemists from London (relating to Energy) to talk about what was going on around the Tyseley Energy Park in the past – since the 1700s – through to modern day and beyond. Although I am not a historian by any stretch, learning about the ‘Webster and Horsfall’ (WH) business’ negative impact on the environment in the past and how in modern day it is working with all the businesses around it to offset carbon emissions was amazing. WH were most notable for manufacturing the armour coating for the first successful trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable in 1866 and have been leading cable manufacturing ever since, and since then have continued the family run business and managed to cut their waste to zero. Modern day however there are many projects in the works including a fleet of 20 hydrogen powered buses currently in operation in the Birmingham area and a plan for about 1 hundred more in the near future to try and help in longer term phase-out for petrol and diesel buses from Birmingham. This would obviously require a large amount of hydrogen to power all of these buses, so onsite they had the largest green hydrogen electrolyser in the whole of the UK, storing 1 tonne of hydrogen for instant access from the 3 refilling points. To my utter amazement the footprint of this hydrogen electrolyser was much smaller than I had initially anticipated and shows just how easy it would be to install these at multiple locations around the UK and as a start move entire bus fleets to hydrogen. Then further this could be used for cars with the right kind of laws in place. On top of hydrogen production, they have multiple businesses within the park producing green electricity in a variety of different ways – from biomass (producing 10MW) to plans to use the wasted heat energy from the energy recovery facility to heat homes in the East side of Birmingham. This ties in nicely with the amazing Microcab hybrid hydrogen/electric cars. With the company working on site, again help moving towards a Net Zero planet.
In the afternoon, I got down to some work, and started investigating Pink Hydrogen. “What’s that?” I hear you ask. “How can Hydrogen have a colour?!” Well, I did some research and prepared a poster explaining how Hydrogen that is generated through electrolysis powered by nuclear energy sources is known – or labelled – as Pink Hydrogen. The very high temperatures from the reactors could be used in other hydrogen production by producing steam for more efficient electrolysis. You can learn more about the Hydrogen Colour Spectrum on the National Grid website: https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/hydrogen-colour-spectrum
I also looked at preparing my personal statement for university applications, by first thinking about my passions and interests along with what I’m studying at A Level, to start building a picture of who I am and what I want to do in future. These two days really opened my eyes to the vast range of opportunities, so it was difficult to focus in on a specific area. But I hope I can work towards a degree and then catapult into a fantastic fulfilling career which has a positive impact on the current crisis in climate change.
So, amazingly I got to experience Astrophysics, Augmented Reality, secondary education, wind turbine design, a meeting with Chemists, history of Birmingham manufacturing, then green energy, pink hydrogen and transport solutions using hydrogen to help solve the climate crisis. And that’s just in 2 days!
I would just like to say thank you to the Birmingham Energy Institute for giving up time during their week to accommodate a Yr12 student like myself and give me the experiences that I would have otherwise never been able to have.
Blog post from Nadia Hussain - Year 12
As part of my sixth forms curriculum, I was encouraged to find work experience in a sector relevant to my interests, as this would allow me to experience industrial work and understand it’s day to day requirements. This, in turn, would then allow me to decide whether or not I thought the job was right for me.
I chose to do my work experience here, at the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre (BEIC) at Tyseley Energy Park (TEP), and upon arrival, I was presented with a warm welcome from all the staff, as well as the UOB students who were working on their pending project at the time. A very informative tour followed shortly after, in which I was presented with health and safety procedures and the background of TEP, along with an introduction to all the companies on the site.
This was a wonderful part of the day where I learnt many new interesting facts, key ones that stood out being that many companies, not just one, existed on this land (via lease), and that some buildings, such as the church, had been around for about 150 years! BEIC however, was built in 2021.
During my first day, after expressing a passion for chemistry, one of the staff who were about to go down into the lab, informed me of their intentions and allowed me to shadow them. Presented with my inquisitive attitude, he enthusiastically explained his current project which was to do with extracting rare earth metals. I was given the opportunity to ask many questions and explore my interests, whilst the staff at the institute remained very informative and supportive.
I soon learnt that the BEIC primarily focused on hydrogen fuel cells, along with magnet and battery recycling and thermal energy storage. On a tour with Dr Emily Prestwood, joined by the technical manager Chris Gell, I was allowed access into the machinery room, where Chris then readily explained the uses of each machine. My abundant curiosity was readily answered with numerous, equally enthused, responses which helped my understanding and knowledge of energy develop.
Over the next few days, I was given the opportunity to sit in during meetings, and this gave me a considerable insight into the world of work, and also allowed me to gain greater knowledge of what was happening in my local community.
Being introduced to many new people was, at first, a little nerve wracking however I swiftly overcame that due to the welcoming and friendly nature of all the staff I met on site.
On Wednesday, I was invited to sit in a meeting between ‘Transport for West Midlands and BEIC’; there were about 60 people in attendance, however we split into two groups of 30. I was shadowing Impact Lead Mossen Randeree at the time, and was presented with an opportunity to hone my social skills and confidence, whilst simultaneously learn all about hydrogen buses – of which only 20 exist in Birmingham! I was given the opportunity to speak to the drivers, who then explained the various different parts of the engine. It was, ultimately, a very interesting experience I would not have otherwise been privy to without the BEIC team.
The following day was a community open day, on which I met many new people down at the hosting memorial hall. Here, we, along with many other organisations, advertised the River Cole project to curious volunteers, and then engaged in a litter pick along the Grand Union canal to contribute towards the development of a much cleaner community area. The River Cole project is one that aims to revamp the land around the river, and introduce family-friendly spaces, such as play areas, rest areas and a gym as well. Evidently, the process had started already in Tyseley Park and is supposed to be completed by the end of June. In great community spirit, numerous people aided in this humanitarian event, along with several volunteer groups from companies such as Severn Trent and Canal and Rivers trust.
After learning I had yet to visit the University of Birmingham main campus- Dr Emily Prestwood kindly organised a trip on Friday, where we took a small tour. As my supervisor, and the key person I was shadowing, she went above and beyond in trying to help me to get the most out of my time at BEIC.
Overall, my time at the Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre and Tyseley Energy Park was a very enlightening experience, which I benefited from greatly, as all the talks and meetings I attended only strengthened and fuelled my aspirations to enter such a field. I would definitely recommend paying a visit if you are unsure as to what the job entails, as you will leave with not only a great insight into the industry/future of energy development, but also an understanding of the several other tasks taken on by staff in this profession.
I would like to thank Dr Emily Prestwood for giving me the opportunity to be here, as well as Karen, Evita, Chris and Mossen for all their support and encouragement. Thank you!