2021 Blyth Challenge

Orkney International Science Festival (OISF) and Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF) are delighted to announce their first collaborative energy challenge, with the aim of encouraging folk of all ages to learn more about renewable energy and have fun designing, building and testing their own renewable energy device.

The 2021 Blyth Challenge is named after Scottish wind energy pioneer James Blyth, who in the 1880s at his home in Marykirk, built the first wind turbine in the world to produce electricity.

Inspired by James Blyth’s pioneering experiments OISF and OREF challenge you to combine re-use and re-cycling with renewable energy to design and build your own wind turbine from previously used materials.

Engineer Bill Graham, one of the Blyth Challenge organisers, explains:

“It could be packaging materials such as cardboard, plastic milk bottles or polystyrene foam, or it could be fabrics such as old clothes, bed sheets, dish towels, or polythene sheets. Blyth’s own pioneering turbine had cloth sails.”

Bill, who lives in Forres in Moray and is an inventor with several patents, says that the reason for using waste material is to stimulate thinking about recycling.

“Other possibilities might be waste plastic components from discarded toys or domestic appliances, or metals such as steel sheets, bars and tubes, ball bearings, or springs. You might want to use wood, like garden furniture, kitchen cabinets, or fence posts, and there’s also the possibility of electric wiring from old appliances.
There are some exceptions where new material will be needed, for instance glues, or nails or screws, or thread, sticky tape, paint or rubber bands.
It’s open to any number of adults or children to form a group to enter the challenge, so it’s something for families or for friends or school groups. We want to encourage people to enter in whatever way they prefer, and to think creatively – very much in the spirit of Blyth himself.”

The overall winning entry will receive a prize of £100. Additional prizes will be awarded for best re-use of materials and most interesting and inventive designs. All prize winners will receive a year’s membership of OREF which gives you access to OREF’s monthly open meetings and regular updates on renewable news and activities in Orkney.

How to enter

To find out more about the challenge and how to enter please visit https://www.oref.co.uk/resources/blyth-challenge

The closing date for entries is 18th October 2021.