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FIRST Global Challenge Team Seychelles presents tidal energy project

The team presenting their project to the panel of professional stakeholders (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

The ten-member Team Seychelles who are partaking in this year’s virtual FIRST Global Challenge, yesterday presented to a panel of professional stakeholders their project for the solutions challenge.

The global competition, which this year has a record 175 participating countries, was officially launched virtually on June 27, with a series of mini challenges for participants to complete within specified timeframes, for which they are awarded points.

With the difficult challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s challenges is focused on the critical answers and practical solutions offered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), to solve certain problems and counter the effects of the problems youth and their communities continue to face around the world.

The main challenge for the 2021 FIRST Global Season is the Solutions Challenge, which comprises three phases. Phase 1 which lasted between June 27 and August 7, required teams to identify a relevant problem in their community, either in relation to the environment, economy, education or health, and develop a solution to help solve it using STEM within six weeks.

For Phases 2 and 3, information was released on August 8, lasting up until today, August 21.

During yesterday’s presentation, the members of Team Seychelles took turns to explain the details of their project, and the possible benefits nationally of implementing it. Entitled ‘Using Tidal Energy to Reduce Importation of Fossil Fuels’ the project seeks to explore the advantages that tidal energy may have for Seychelles as a renewable energy source, to offset high importation of fossil fuels.

“Seychelles is reliant on fuels to produce electricity and to buy fuel, we need foreign exchange. With the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism was badly affected and we saw that there was a drop in the foreign exchange going into the system. What we are proposing therefore, using tidal energy to generate energy, will cut down on fuel imports, and keep foreign exchange in the system,” explained Team Captain Mikhail Rudchenko.

The team outlined the finer details of the project, and the means by which they intend to harness and convert energy from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity using various methods. It was also noted that although not widely adopted, tidal energy is growing in popularity around the world.

It was also highlighted that tidal energy is advantageous for numerous reasons, including that tides are predictable, the systems are inexpensive to maintain and a reliable source of energy which does not produce greenhouse gases and other waste.

Having conducted the research for the project, the team hopes to be able to go ahead and build a prototype of the equipment, and to with the help of stakeholders have support to build an accurate computer model, run simulations, and build a scaled model of the turbine or equipment to be used in the process.

Addressing the panelists from entities including the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) and Seychelles Energy Commission (SEC), head of the Division of Science, Technology and Innovation, Xavier Estico, expressed his desires to see the project taken further beyond the competition, and come to fruition. He said considering the vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Seychelles, the project is feasible and has much potential towards environment-protection as well as economic benefits.

Article Source : Seychelles Nation Newspaper

Link: https://www.nation.sc/articles/10204/first-global-challenge-team-seychelles-presents-tidal-energy-project-by-laura-pillay



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