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Scientific part of our London trip with the

Erasmus+ project (4-10/11/2018)
by Komninos Kostoglou
2nd Lyceum of Kos
The Erasmus+ trip to London had ‘energy storage and alternative energy’ as its theme.
Consequently, during our stay, we visited 3 universities, where presentations were made to us
about the different forms of alternative and green energy as well as new ways for energy
storage.

SCIENCE MUSEUM
The first day of our stay, we visited London’s science museum where we were shown
around by experts. As we explored the never-ending collection of spectacular artifacts, we
were captivated by the Handley Page aeroplane, an immense prototype that soared the skies
90 years ago.
Afterwards, the attention was caught by ship replicas. The Globtik Tokyo crude carrier was
the largest of its kind in the early 70’s and its design was inspired by the revolutional for its
time Raven design by Froude, c.1867, which was also part of the department we were on.
Later, we couldn’t help noticing Elliott 401 one of the first computers built in London by the
Elliott Brothers in 1953.
To take in everything we had seen, we changed department and from transport/technology
we moved to medicine/statistics. There we were shown how infographics changed through
time, how we got from endless lists to handy pie charts, and old surgical methods.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
The second day was spent at University College London or UCL where we joined various
scientific tasks and finally had a break to digest the gigantic amount of information we had
received during the day.
UCL is the 3rd largest university in the UK and is a global leader in research and it consists
of 37.000 international students. There, we were asked to wear protective clothing before
entering the lab and were seperated into 4 teams so as when the first team finished with one
task, they can give their place to another team and move on to the next.
The first task was to listen and pose questions to a presentation on a machine made at the
university which converts hydrogen to electricity following various electrochemical reactions
of an electrochemical cell, known as fuel cell. Machines like these are used as back-up
electricity generators on industrial and remote residential buildings.
Afterwards, the next task was to see and identify the atoms that were on display on a
microscope, one of them was a fuel cell.
Later, an expert demonstrated to our team how easy it is to use a 3D-Printer. The only thing
one has to do is download a 3D design and the printer will do the rest of the job.
Lastly, a put a fuel cell machine to use and with the electricity produced from air
molecules, we managed to move small electric cars automatically.
To close off the day, the scientists behind each presentation got together to summarize to us
what he had just seen and to better present their university, as well as to answer further
questions about fuel cells, 3d-printers and student life.
CAMBRIDGE
The 3rd day, on Wednesday, we boarded the train and traveled to the town of
Cambridge where after a little tour of the town we arrived at the Cavendish Lab
of the Science Department of the Univeristy of Cambridge.
At the Cavendish Laboratory, we received a tour of the museum of the Lab
and later we joined a presentation on Renewable Energy Sources and electricity
storage. The presentation included fuel cell mechanism, which was further
explained, and ways in which we could improve the efficiency of this
mechanism.
IMPERIAL COLLEGE
The last day of academic activities was spent at Imperial College, located on
South Kensington and with 18.000 attendees it is a world-renowned university
for its scientific, technological and medicinal breakthroughs.
There we were greeted by students and professors alike and were splitted into
2 groups.
The first group’s task was to measure the density of sun rays using machines
and writing down our findings so as we could compare with everyone’s at the
end.
The second’s group task was to watch a presentation made by the students on
lithium batteries and how their forms change when they’re plugged or
unplugged. Later, we calculated how much energy our house needed on a
regular basis and the results weren’t something to be proud about.
PRESENTATIONS ON BATTERIES AND ENERGY
Apart from tasks and presentations made at universities, while in London, the
Erasmus team was joined by 2 specialists to explain batteries, an electrical
object used daily, and the energy production in the UK.
The battery presentation included the problem behind battery recycling, how to
stay safe from battery explosions and why the price of batteries will soon
escalate because of shortage in a material used for every battery, known as
cobalt
The second presentation was about how energy is produced throughout the
UK. Starting off from a happy note we learnt that for the first time the UK uses
more renewable energy than fossil fuel, yet how the government depends on the
consant usage of coal plants and that they will be around for a long time.