It's shaped like orange peel and produces its own clean energy through a system of solar panels, wind turbines and rolls that harness kinetic energy. Designed by three school girls, could this be London's new river crossing?
Three school children from Wallington High School for Girls have been named as the winners of the Institution of Civil Engineers' (ICE) London #ICanEngineer Competition for designing a new crossing for the Thames. The Competition was provided in partnership with engineering consultancy Arup and Highways England, the Government agency behind the UK's major roads. ICE London's Graduates and Students also helped to organise the event. The event was organised and presented by ICE London's Graduates and Students, as part of their growing 'Future Engineers Scheme'.
Harriet Riser, Sofia Kahn and Anjali Nair from Year 9 received the award for their 'Providing Energy Efficiently for London' or PEEL Bridge. Designed to look like an orange peel, the bridge would use solar panels and wind turbines to generate energy.
Showing a keen sense of the engineering required, the girls' design covered a number of aspects including cost, material and impact on nearby infrastructure. When considering what the bridge should be made of, the plans state: "A crossing like the PEEL needs lots of materials, but they have to be reasonably priced and sturdy so the whole bridge doesn't collapse!"
On where the bridge could go, the girls thought about aesthetics as well as practicalities: "the ideal location would be between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridge because not only is it located near iconic landmarks… it is an ideal place for the sun to hit the solar panels".
The three pupils competed with over 20 schools from across the South East of England to be shortlisted to a list of just six. The six groups of pupils then presented their project bids at the competition finale on 6 December at the ICE's headquarters in Westminster.
The event was held at ICE's brand new exhibition, Bridge Engineering which includes the world's longest single-span LEGO Bridge which stands at 3m tall and is 31m long.
After showing their designs, the winners were chosen by a group of engineers including ICE President Professor Tim Broyd, who presented the girls with their trophy and certificates. The winners also received Amazon vouchers and an assortment of gifts from Arup and Highways England.
Speaking on the competition, ICE London Director Suzanne Moroney said: "The #ICanEngineer Competition has shown that our schools are full of the engineers of tomorrow. I've been so impressed with the quality, detail and thought that have gone into all the entries. Every group should be incredibly proud of themselves.
"Wallington School for Girls were a deserving winner. Their PEEL Bridge was not only a fascinating design, but would also generate clean energy for London. Their entry was incredibly detailed, even setting out the cost and funding strategy.
"I hope to that these pupils now see that engineering is a fun, interesting and creative career choice. Perhaps one day in the not too distant future, they will be able to put their designs into practice and be part of a new river crossing along the Thames".
In second place came pupils from Sutton Grammar School and in third place were pupils from Chigwell School. The ICE Graduates and Students ‘Future Engineers Scheme’ will be running a similar competition based on a new theme, for 2017.
See the full design of the PEEL Bridge