On the evening of Friday 21 June 2013, Fraeya and Heather, along with other members of their DTC cohort, took part in ‘Bristopia’ – an after-hours, adults only event at the At-Bristol science centre. This post, written by Heather describes their experience.
Over the last couple of years we have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Bath Taps into Science and Cheltenham Science festivals and engaging with a young audience about science and sustainability, however as a group we decided that we would also really like to talk to a more mature audience about the research that goes on within the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) and particularly our own areas of expertise. We heard about ‘Bristopia’, an event being organised by At-Bristol to look at the “big green ideas” for the future of Bristol and decided it would be a great opportunity to put together some activities which would be fun and interactive for adults and would help us to put our research into context.
We put together an exhibit titled “Creating Cleaner Technologies for Energy”. This was designed to highlight some of the key technologies that could help us towards a sustainable energy future and show how the research taking place at the CSCT can contribute to that. The exhibit included an ethanol bottle rocket and hydrogen-powered toy cars to demonstrate alternative fuels for vehicles. There was also a build your own battery experiment and a Smart-grid demonstration, built by one of our group, to show how energy storage can be used to overcome problems with intermittent renewable energy. Fraeya brought along some wheat straw and samples of yeast oil from her own research which helped to kickstart several in-depth discussions with the public about biofuels and the research conducted within the Chuck Group.
The exhibit was well received by the visitors and many of them were interested to hear about the research taking place at the CSCT. The adult audience also gave us the opportunity to talk in more depth about our research fields than in previous events, which was a welcome change.
In addition to running our own exhibits, we had a bit of time to hear some excellent talks by a number of Bristol’s big green thinkers. There was also time to explore some of the permanent exhibits at the centre before the visitors arrived, much to the delight of the group!
The event gave us some new ideas on how we could make our exhibit bigger and better for future events. We are also planning to develop the exhibit to include activities encompassing more aspects of our research, including cleaner technologies for healthcare and waste reuse. Stay tuned for more!