School students create biodiesel at Chemical Engineering event

A group of thirty A Level students from across the country have spent a week here at Bath where they’ve taken part in a Chemical Engineering ‘Headstart’ course.

The Headstart course is aimed at young people who love science, technology and maths subjects and are thinking about studying them at university.

Nicola Carroll from Maidstone Grammar and Praveen Emmanuel from Sutton Grammar school.

Nicola Carroll from Maidstone Girls' Grammar and Praveen Emmanuel from Sutton Grammar school.

The event not only gives the students an opportunity to work in a laboratory on real experiments, it also introduces them to university life. At Bath the students have stayed in university halls of residence, have been to lectures and have visited the various historical sites of the city.

In the laboratory they have contributed to research being carried out by Dr Chris Chuck, a Whorrod Research Fellow from our Department of Chemical Engineering.

Dr Chuck said: “My current research aims to create sustainable biofuels from waste resources which reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Over the course of the week the school students have looked at a real research problem of converting waste coffee grounds unto a useable diesel fuel.”

A level students are helped with their project by Bath PhD student Rhod Jenkins.

A level students are helped with their project by Bath PhD student Rhod Jenkins in the blue hat.

Rory Dunne, from Kingston Grammar School, said: “I was told about Headstart by my school and applied to attend the course. I am studying chemistry at A Level and this is useful to decide whether to come to university to study chemical engineering.”

The students have been helped in the laboratory by a number of the University’s postgraduate and undergraduate students this week, who have been able to share anecdotes about their own time as students and enthuse their visitors about life at university.

Our Department of Chemical Engineering offers prestigious degree programmes and has strong relationships with the commercial sector, making it one of the most successful in the UK.

Dr Chuck said: “By giving these younger students a fantastic first experience of university we hope to have encouraged them to aim high and choose a degree scheme that will both challenge them and offer them fantastic career opportunities.”

For more information about Chemical Engineering here at Bath see: http://www.bath.ac.uk/chem-eng/

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