QLD students race to a renewable future

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Gladstone in Central Queensland is once again set to host the Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix (H2GP), a school-based science and engineering program nurturing the talent of the world’s future renewable energy leaders.

The four-hour race will be held at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre on Thursday, 16 May 2024 and will be delivered by Horizon Educational and CQUniversity Australia with the support of several industry and government partners.

This year’s H2GP will see 20 teams and more than 150 students from high schools in Biloela, Calliope, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Tannum Sands and Yeppoon put their renewable energy engineering skills to the test, racing their self-built 1:10-scale hydrogen-powered cars over a four-hour ‘endurance race’.

Kingsley CQU Zoomers from Kingsley College Rockhampton Year nine boys who have worked on the program since Term four, 2023.

STEM education puts students in pole position to power future transport

The H2GP final will be the culmination of a six-month-long STEM education program in which students have worked with industry mentors to design, engineer and construct their very own hydrogen-powered cars.

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The winner of the race will advance to the Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix World Final, to be held in September in Los Angeles, USA.

Kamil Jelinek, CEO of Horizon Educational says that, after the success of the inaugural event in 2023, bringing the Hydrogen Grand Prix back to Central Queensland was an obvious choice given the region’s connections with industry and the need for future workers with renewable energy and engineering skills.

“While students design, engineer and construct their 1:10-scale hydrogen-powered cars today – tomorrow they’ll be fuelling innovation, creating the electrolysers, solar panels and wind turbines that will power Australia for decades to come,” he says.

“We learned last year from our industry supporters that Central Queensland is prioritising these skills for future workforces and Horizon Educational is proud to play a part in supporting this vision.”

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Educating for jobs of the future

With STEM careers set to make up many of Queensland’s future jobs – many of them in the central-Queensland region – Queensland’s Assistant Minister for State Development and Infrastructure Julieanne Gilbert says “it is vital that we start nurturing homegrown experts in this sector now”.

“As well as having fun through the design process, students have also used their technical and teamwork skills, while learning valuable lessons about environmental sustainability, renewable energy, alternative fuels and future technology,” she says.

The Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, and Member for Gladstone, Glenn Butcher says “programs such as H2GP inspire young people to pursue exciting careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)”.

“STEM careers will make up many of Queensland’s future jobs, supporting better services and great lifestyles in the years to come. It is so important we continue to nurture and upskill a new generation of energy experts, through programs like these,” says Mr Butcher.

Online courses help high school students prepare for an emerging industry

As well as the H2GP, CQUniversity and the Queensland Government are also supporting high school students across Queensland to enrol in online courses to help them prepare for careers in the emerging hydrogen industry. 

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The program known as Fuelling a Hydrogen Future: STEM Skills for Secondary Learning, was funded by the Queensland Government and developed by CQUniversity Australia with support from industry partners Stanwell Corporation and ACCIONA Energía.

The micro-credential courses are open for enrolment now and have been developed specifically for years seven – 10 and years 11 – 12.

Renewables sector offers education pathways

For H2GP event organiser and CQUniversity’s Project Manager for the CQ Hydrogen Community Hub, Dr Cal Devney, “the hydrogen and renewables sector represent a promising opportunity for the region to realise future growth and become a world-leading region in this space”.

“CQUniversity is proud to work with Horizon Educational, the Queensland Government and local industry to engage a new generation of leaders and equip them with new skills and knowledge,” says Dr Devney.

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