A young inventor from South Shields will see his planet-saving idea spring to life, with the support of two South Tyneside pioneers.
Nine-year-old Isaac, from Cleadon, visited Ford Aerospace at Port of Tyne this month to present his Wind Mirrors to a panel of high-profile business leaders.
Devised as part of South Tyneside Council and the Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s Little Inventors Programme, Isaac’s invention is one of eight planet-saving inventions that will be brought to life by local businesses and exhibited at the Word in South Shields until December.
Working in partnership with schools across the borough, the Little Inventors Programme launched in February as a challenge to year 4 and 5 students to create inventions powered by movement and wind that could help reverse climate change.
Isaac’s idea, ‘Wind Mirrors’, would see propellers manufactured that could be attached underneath vehicle wing mirrors to generate renewable electricity that can be used to power vehicular accessories.
As Isaac explained in his presentation:
“The propellers will spin in the wind as the car moves which will then provide electricity, which will power the radio and satnav.
“This is also a safety feature because it can power the rear and front headlights. Also, the propellers are underneath the mirrors, so it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view.”
Cell Pack Solutions and Ford Aerospace were two of the many local businesses and bright minds to back the campaign, with both companies agreeing to collaborate to help bring one of the winning ideas to life.
Both organisations were inspired to get involved having signed the South Tyneside Pledge, a commitment by over two hundred local organisations to boost local economic activity, reduce health inequalities, lower carbon emissions, and enhance civic pride. Equinor, Operator of Dogger Bank Wind Farm is also a signatory of the pledge.
After finding out about Isaac’s idea and being ‘blown away’ by his ‘thorough and diverse’ invention, they agreed to work together to develop a working prototype, with Isaac leading as the project manager.
Speaking after the presentation, Isaac said:
“I spend a lot of time drawing cars and building this with LEGO, so I was really happy when I found out I had won.
“The idea was to use a propellor that can generate wind from the momentum of the car and use it to power things such as the sat nav. We have also spoken about using a battery to store the electricity but that would be further down the line.
“It’s been totally mad seeing the design come to life and seeing how the two companies have worked together on it and I can’t wait to see the final version once they have made the improvements we discussed today. It’s all been really worthwhile.”
The Dogger Bank Community Fund and South Tyneside Council launched the Little Inventors Programme to support and increase understanding of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths for young people and their parents and to raise awareness of the economic and environmental opportunities presented by renewable energy.
Each of the winning ideas will be on show at a public exhibition at The Word, South Shields from July 16th 2023 until end of November 2023. Visitors to The Word will also be able to submit their own ideas, with one further idea being brought to life and exhibited from September 2023.
Tom Nightingale, North East Stakeholder Manager for Equinor, said:
“It is fantastic to see the local community helping to develop new inventions linked to renewable energy as we look to tackle climate change. Isaac is one of many little inventors with great ideas that are building on our work at Dogger Bank Wind Farm to start a green revolution from here in South Tyneside. We are looking forward to seeing the inventions brought to life and it is even better that the campaign is being backed by local businesses.”
Cllr Margaret Meling, Lead Member for Economic Growth and Transport, said:
“Isaac must be incredibly proud that his idea is to be turned into a real product with the help of local businesses.
“This programme is an excellent way of inspiring children and igniting their passion for STEM not just in the classroom, but to find innovative solutions to real-life problems.
“As Isaac has illustrated, we have some brilliant young minds in the borough!”
Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Vårgrønn (20%). SSE Renewables is lead operator for the development and construction of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Equinor will be lead operator of the wind farm on completion for its expected operational life of around 35 years.
For more information, visit: https://southtyneside.littleinventors.org/
See the exhibition at The Word from Thursday 20 July until Sunday 3 December.