19 February 2014 — A South Australian school, Urrbrae Agricultural High School, has won an international prize for a project to convert livestock effluent into methane gas.
The US$50,000 prize was for runner up in the Oceania Division of the schools category, ahead of a new round of prizes worth $4 million that opens for 2015.
This prize money was gifted by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, chair of the General Women’s Union and wife of UAE founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Year 12 student Caitlin Thompson represented Urrbrae at the awards and received the prize certificate from Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, the UAE minister of state and Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland.
Urrbrae’s project will microbially convert the school’s livestock effluent to methane gas, which will be captured then flared to generate heat energy. This energy will then be used to provide electricity for the school’s aquaculture and pig facilities.
This will be studied across the physics, chemistry and biology classes as students learn about the processes of methane generation, monitor gas production and energy output, and calculate the reduction of greenhouse gases as a result of the project.
“The outcomes for the school include advanced science education options for students, interaction with university and industry research and learning, and a reduction of our carbon footprint,” Urrbrae’s assistant principal Peter Smith said.
“We are very excited to be successful recipients of this inaugural award and wish to express our enormous appreciation to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and the Zayed Future Energy Prize for this generous prize and the opportunity to be among the leading environmental schools and organisations in the world today,” Mr Smith said.
Future Energy Prize 2015 now open
Entries are now open for the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize from companies, organisational individuals and schools that show leadership in advancing renewable energy and sustainability, with US$4 million in prize money available in five categories:
- Small to medium enterprises (turnover under $100 million annually) – US$1.5 million prize money
- Non-government organisations, including industry associations and research bodies – US$1.5 million prize money
- Lifetime Achievement (a third-party nominated category) – US$500,000 prize money
- Large Corporations (turnover over $100 million) Recognition Award
- Global High Schools teaching year 9 and above – with US$100,000 to be awarded to a school in each of five key regions, including Oceania
Award organiser Masdar has appointed Melbourned-based Business Outlook and Evaluation to assist Australian companies, schools and organisations with their award submissions.