All that glisters…boys’ Science project impresses judges

Three QE pupils who completed a project on biofuels for a prestigious national award have been praised as a shining example by the judges.

Ankeet Tanna, Madhi Elango and Aniruddh Raghu (pictured below, left to right) are now in Year 12, but were in Year 11 when they applied for the British Science Association CREST award in the Silver category – the category open for pupils of their age. “The boys successfully completed the award and the judges were so impressed with their project that they suggested upgrading the award to Gold!” said Dr Sarah Westcott, Chemistry teacher and Head of Pupil Progression.

The association established the CREST awards to stretch students and enrich their studies. The Silver award is aimed at 14-16 year olds and requires around 30 hours of project work. Pupils can either ask for a project to be set, or chose a topic of their own.  Aniruddh, Madhi and Ankeet worked on extracting ethanol from plant material as a possible biofuel. “The boys worked with considerable focus and dedication, although my lab did smell like a bootlegger’s for a brief period!” said Dr Westcott.

""The boys chose to look at biofuel as it was a topic that interested them all and linked many areas of science together. “We wanted to see if we could help to solve a contemporary scientific issue that affects the whole planet,” said Ankeet. “Firstly we looked at the existing methods of making biofuel, then experimented with different ways of breaking down grass to give the highest yield.”

Dr Westcott added: “The CREST award is unusual in that it is not an annual event that runs to a deadline, but a rolling award that students can apply for at any time during the school year. It is then up to the pupils to invest the time and effort required to successfully complete their project.”