Yavneh pupil powers way to engineering prize


While robots waged war at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, another student was also making a big impression at the event: 16-year-old Joshua Fifer, who was named Young Engineer Student of the Year 2016.

The Yavneh College pupil won the title for designing and building a prototype device that can generate hydrogen, which can then be used to power domestic gas appliances.

He has spent the past six months developing his prototype, having beaten more than 1,000 applicants from the UK to be a part of the Young Engineers for Britain mentoring programme in September.

This involved him being assigned a scientist mentor from the National Physical Laboratory, who advised him throughout the process.

Joshua said: "I knew that the fuel crisis is one of the major problems we face today. I was researching what could be used to replace it, and realised hydrogen was perfect. It can be produced domestically and has no negative consequences on the environment."

To build the device, Joshua, whose family belong to the Liberal Synagogue Elstree, used the shell of a water dispenser.

"It relies on power through solar energy," he explained. "The electricity generated powers a dehumidifier, which draws water vapour from the air and turns it into a liquid. Current is then passed through the water, which splits into hydrogen and oxygen gas. You can then use the hydrogen as fuel."

The student, from Elstree, said he had discovered a love for engineering and applied sciences after building a car engine at school. He is now studying for his A-levels in maths, physics, chemistry and computer science, and is hoping to become an engineer.

"Being able to apply what you learn at school and make a difference is such a good skill to have," he said. "This has opened my mind and shown me that creativity is just as important as experience. You don't have to be a scientist all your life to create something new."

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