From education to employment

Welsh pupils take up environmental themed robotics challenge with Deregallera’s STEM Ambassador

Caerphilly based battery developer, @Deregallera’s Kat Hunter undertook her first outreach event in her new role as #STEM Ambassador as a judge in the national STEM initiative, EEP Tomorrow’s Engineers #Robotics Challenge.  

Run by Learn by Design and now in its fifth year, the competition invites secondary school pupils to take on the challenge of building and programming robots!

Regional heats for South Wales were held on Thursday 30th January at Coleg y Cymoedd (Aberdare College).  Student teams from local secondary schools were challenged to research, design and present their own solution to contemporary engineering problems faced by STEM professionals. Under time pressure, the teams complete a series of environmental and humanitarian themed challenges using the unique robots they have designed, constructed and programmed using LEGO® components and MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 software. They then present the physical designs and software they’ve invented to the judges.

Judging at the event, Deregallera’s Kat Hunter said,

This challenge is a great step in developing engineering design, construction and programming skills and gives participants first-hand experience in problem-solving, initiative and team working.

“Some of the pupils participating have only had a month to prepare for the heats, and two of the teams here have been selected for the finals in Birmingham, so they’ve done really well.”

Previous Welsh finalists have gone on to be national finalists in the international FIRST® LEGO®League competition and participated in Tomorrow’s Engineers Week annual STEM awareness event.

Learn by Design manage and deliver Tomorrow’s Engineers programmes to schools across the UK. The programme combines industry visits, workshops and STEM Ambassador partnerships – with companies such as Severn Trent Water, Rolls-Royce, National Grid, BAE Systems, Electricity NW and Airbus – to help schools incorporate engineering into the curriculum and inspire the next generation of engineers.

Kat Hunter completed her PhD investigating electrochemical oxides on platinum at Cardiff University and joined Deregallera in 2016 as a lab technician. She was rapidly promoted to Material Chemist and became Deregallera’s first STEM Ambassador in November 2019. Her work is focused towards emerging high energy, sustainable, energy storage materials for capacitors, supercapacitors and batteries.

Deregallera is an exciting and progressive high-tech research and development company committed to reducing the environmental impact of modern society by exploring and evolving new materials and technologies for an all-electric future. Activities include materials discovery for energy storage in capacitor, supercapacitor, pseudocapacitor and battery systems, as well as developing a range of novel electric motors, generators and advanced control systems demonstrated by our full scale EV prototype (named “Yr Glanaf” – Welsh for “The Cleanest”).

Founded in 2010 by electric drives technology innovator and clean energy visionary, Martin Boughtwood, a business entrepreneur with a successful technology innovation track record of some 40 years, Deregallera has grown to 21 staff.

The company works in partnership with leading scientists and development engineers from the universities of Cambridge, Southampton, Exeter, London South Bank, Queen Mary, Cardiff and Swansea and technology leaders such as QinetiQ, NPL, HPC Wales & Cymru and Dstl.

Deregallera has won grant awards under Innovate UK‘s highly competitive Faraday Challenge to develop a new Hybrid Energy Storage System (HESS) to extend the life of Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries by 50%. It has 23 filed patents to date.

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