Media release: Launch of Scottish schools competition to design a floating wind turbine

Budding Engineers

KNOTS to Watts, a pioneering competition aimed at inspiring school pupils to research offshore wind technologies and build a floating wind turbine which generates electricity, is being launched across Scotland on November 16 2017 at Aberdeen Science Centre.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) competition is open to both primary and secondary pupils throughout Scotland and teams of four will have until 15 December 2017 to register. Following registration, a free kit of components will be provided to each school to use for their floating wind turbine design.

Knots to Watts, considered the first Scottish offshore wind competition of its kind, will culminate in teams presenting their research portfolio and test their floating wind turbine models to key players in the sector at SCDI’s National Celebration of STEM, taking place at Glasgow Science Centre in June 2018.

The winning team will receive Vattenfall’s cutting-edge 3D Virtual Reality Development programme, which will allow them to create their own wind energy project in their school and view it using virtual reality visors.

The prize will allow the winning students to take their project from inception through to clean energy power generation. The software programme involves getting pupils to consider a range of project development factors including finance, research, innovation and construction to offer an experience that is as realistic and immersive as possible.

Knots to Watts, which is supported by Crown Estate Scotland, Institute of Physics in Scotland (IOPS) and Vattenfall, the Swedish energy group, is being delivered by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) through its Young Engineers and Science Clubs (YESC) network. Representatives from all organisations will attend the event, which will also include a range of interactive activities and workshops.

Schools can register for the competition or find out more on the Young Engineers & Science Clubs Scotland website or by contacting Melanie Riddell at or 01463 218667.


For further information, please contact:

Melanie Riddell

Direct dial: 01463 218667  |  Mobile: 07916315801

Twitter: @scdiYESC

Notes for editors:


Alison McLure, IOPS national officer (Scotland), said: “We are pleased to be able to support an initiative which shows the relevance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to young people and that there are fantastic, exciting careers to be had in the energy sector.”

YESC programme manager, Melanie Riddell, said: “This competition is a fantastic way for young people to develop their interest in science and engineering; while gaining valuable skills for learning, life and work and gaining a real insight into the energy sources of the future and the career opportunities these provide.”

Sian Wilson, senior development manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this project which will help inspire young people at this exciting time for offshore wind in Scotland. It has been great working with SCDI’s Young Engineers & Science Clubs programme, IOPS and also Vattenfall who we are thrilled to see have started building their own test and demonstration project using cutting edge innovation in wind technology. Job creation is just one way in which Scotland’s communities are benefitting from offshore renewables and we want to encourage pupils to take advantage of this growing opportunity.”

Adam Ezzamel, project director for the EOWDC at Vattenfall, said: “Knots to Watts is a fantastic initiative to engage pupils and teachers across Scotland with the exciting innovations, design and engineering that have helped drive offshore wind to the heart of the country’s energy mix. The team at Vattenfall is looking forward to actively getting involved in supporting the competition.

“Our prize of the 3D offshore wind programme delivers a virtual reality experience whereby pupils will see their research projects come to life. The programme is underpinned by a workshop that crosses over all STEM subjects, shares industry knowledge and shows the diverse range of disciplines in offshore wind, and helps develop employability skills such presentation and working in a team environment.”

Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), off Aberdeen bay, is Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility. It will trial next generation technology and once operational, boost the industry’s drive to competitive clean power.

SCDI is an independent membership network representing a cross-section of the private, public and social economy sectors in Scotland. SCDI’S YESC programme brings together schools and industry by developing topical STEM activities based on cutting-edge technology relevant to current economic growth sectors in Scotland.

YESC is a primary and secondary school Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education programme run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. It is funded by grant support from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. The project has played a key role inspiring young people towards STEM careers since 1987 with the network reaching more than 1,500 schools throughout Scotland.

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