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Student Sustainability Challenge winners swapping Scunthorpe for Bergen!

The winners of The Waterline Student Sustainability Challenge 2022 are setting off on a visit to the most significant carbon capture facility in Europe, an experience organised by challenge sponsor and energy-transition leader, Equinor.

The students, Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire’s Year 10 Loyal Leaders, were crowned Overall Winners of the second Student Sustainability Challenge, part of Marketing Humber and the University of Hull’s The Waterline campaign, at an awards ceremony in October. 

Sponsored by Equinor and SSE Thermal, the challenge gave students aged 9-18 across the Humber region the chance to make a positive impact on communities and the environment by creating inspiring solutions to harmful climate problems.

The Loyal Leaders’ project was selected by the judging panel as the stand-out entry, displaying innovation, passion and demonstrable action. The team won £2,000 to put towards developing their eco plans within the college, plus a unique opportunity to visit Norway with challenge sponsor, Equinor.

The students’ project saw them create an energy pledge to share with and beyond their college community, explore methods of reducing energy consumption within the college and work to secure savings of a third on college energy bills. Now, they are swapping Scunthorpe for Bergen, as they leave the Humber to visit two of Equinor’s main sites. 

They will get private tours around the Northern Lights site, a ground-breaking CCUS project which receives and stores CO2 emissions transported by ship from elsewhere in Europe; and the Kollsnes plant, which processes 40% of Norwegian gas used in Europe and is earmarked as a future hydrogen hub. Both CCUS and hydrogen are vital technologies which Equinor and other companies are looking to deploy in the Humber to reduce the region’s emissions. 

During the four-day experience, taking place this week, the Loyal Leaders will visit Bergen Science Centre VilVite, and will have the opportunity to share their project ideas with peers at a local school, with the potential for knowledge-exchange to inspire future initiatives in both regions. They will also meet Equinor’s apprentices and young employees to learn about the wide range of careers opportunities within the sector.

Richard Royal, Head of Public Affairs and Communications, Equinor, was part of the judging panel for the challenge in 2021 and again in 2022, and will be accompanying the students to Norway. As sponsor representative, Richard was keen that the winning team received a prize to fuel their passion for the planet and see first-hand some of the exciting decarbonisation projects which could be replicated in the Humber:

Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire’s Loyal Leaders (from left to right): – Lila, Nicole, Ethan, Bailey, Jacob, Oliver and Filip.

He said: 

“The projects that the Loyal Leaders submitted to the challenge were truly impressive and demonstrated the real results that can be achieved by young people who are passionate about reducing emissions and protecting our environment. 

“We’re looking forward to showing the students these sites, which are among the most significant energy projects in Europe, and which will teach them about the carbon capture and hydrogen technologies which we intend to bring to the Humber over the coming decades. We hope that many of these students will be inspired into future careers within the sector, which will be vital on our journey to net zero.”

In addition to sponsors, Equinor and SSE Thermal, The Waterline Student Sustainability Challenge 2022 was judged by a panel of representatives from Absolutely Cultured, Associated British Ports (ABP), KCOM, Ørsted, and Willerby. 

Six teams were shortlisted as finalists, recognised as demonstrating creativity and climate knowledge. All finalists received a cash prize and VIP experience with a judging panel business.

The Loyal Leaders have donated half of their cash prize to ‘Project Plants’. This extra-curricular activity is creating green spaces in and around the UTC and has also seen trees and bushes arrive from the Queen’s Green Canopy Fund.  They have been supported throughout by Director of Business Development at the UTC, Jen Vincent. Jen and Principal, Anesta McCullagh, will travel to Norway with the team.

Anesta said: 

“We are incredibly proud of our students and the work they have done not only towards the Sustainability Challenge but the difference they have made to a real-life issue that we are all facing currently. Energy bills and carbon footprint are key focuses of young people and their families across the UK, and we welcome other schools to work with us and share ideas on how we can further save energy.

“The Loyal Leaders have made a huge contribution in lowering the school’s energy usage, conducting themselves with the utmost professionalism and are now super-excited about the impending trip to Norway. They will be blogging their experiences as they go, so please do look out for them on social media. We are all particularly excited to be joined by Oygarden school in Norway, where we hope to form lasting relationships. A huge thank you from us to Marketing Humber for a fantastic project, and to Equinor for making this once in a lifetime opportunity possible for our students. They will never forget it.”

Dr Diana Taylor, Managing Director, Marketing Humber, said: 

“Another fantastic year of The Waterline Student Sustainability Challenge saw an incredibly high standard of entries across a variety of themes including arts and creativity, technology and innovation, and community. The judges were yet again impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the students and the inspiring projects they produced, and all entrants should be proud of their achievements.

“Thanks to our sponsors and judges for enabling the delivery of the challenge and offering such exciting behind-the-scenes experiences for the finalist teams; it is wonderful to see our businesses working to inspire the next generation. I look forward to hearing about the Loyal Leaders’ much-deserved prize visit to Norway!”

The students will produce video diaries and blogs to record their visit. For updates, follow Marketing Humber on social @marketinghumber or visit

Main image caption: Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire’s Loyal Leaders team, with sponsor representatives – Richard Royal, Equinor and Jade Fernandez, SSE Thermal, and Olympic Gold Medallist, Ed Clancy OBE, at The Waterline Summit in October 2022.

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