UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


UCell@Green Man Festival

24 August 2018

U Cell members at the festival

On Wednesday 15th August, we packed our stack into the rental van and headed over to Green Man festival site, set in the idyllic countryside around Crickhowell, near the Brecon Beacons. After a successful test of the stack on the Thursday we went to enjoy the music on the opening night of the festival, in advance of three, jam-packed days of electrochemical energy outreach!

Members of the public at the U Cell stall
Friday morning was an early start, making sure everything was in place and that the stack was running smoothly. Over the weekend we were providing power for the Omni Tent – a stage in Einstein’s Garden.  The Einstein’s Garden is a whole section of the festival devoted to all-things-science with stands devoted to everything from DIY renewables, to re-standardising the mole. Over the whole weekend, the Omni Tent was hosting a series of talks all about science, and we were powering it the whole time with our 3 kW stack! Interestingly, the stage power only peaked at around 1 kW, meaning we had a few kilowatts to spare. They didn’t go to waste, since the lovely folk in the Workshop Tent were demonstrating “sustainable food” and wanted to plug in their waffle machine and we were able to provide power for this! The stack ran perfectly all weekend and we didn’t lose power once. The festival goers were amazed when we told them that the Omni Tent was running completely off grid and it was a pleasure to hear the excitement and enthusiasm that people had for learning about the technology.

As every year, as well as powering the Omni Tent stage, we were also using the demo kits to explain the science of fuel cells and batteries to people of all ages. It was great to hear that some of the children were learning about fuel cells in school and some of them said it really helped them to see the fuel cells in action.

Over the weekend, we spoke to over 1000 people of all ages and we loved having the time to have long chats, and in some cases even debates!, about the future of energy in the UK and beyond. We even spoke to someone who works for the National Trust and owns a fuel cell car! For us, it was encouraging to hear that people are starting to become aware of the technology. We can’t wait for next year already!