Grand finale of Shell school competition #makethefuturerheinland

For almost a year, eight school teams worked feverishly to create models, scenarios and concepts for making their residential district a “model neighbourhood for hydrogen made in Cologne”. On 2 July 2019, 200 pupils, teachers, Shell mentors, fans and external guests came together for the grand finale in the Comedia Theatre Cologne.

The teams’ results were impressive – on the same level as Germany’s prestigious national science competition “Jugend forscht”. So it was no wonder that the independent expert jury found it hard to select the winners of the third through first prizes and the special prize “Social Media” from among the many and varied approaches. In the end, it was clear that all the teams were winners.

This year, 1st place went to the upper secondary school Georg Büchner Gymnasium in Cologne-Weiden for their concept of a wide-area H2 production and utilisation chain. “Out of all the many great presentations and ideas, we succeeded in making it to the top,” said pupil Jakob Valder (17) joyfully. Sabine Prelle, a teacher of advanced chemistry, called it “a fantastic team effort – this first place enormously strengthens our school’s science orientation.” The winning team is looking forward to their trip to Hamburg and their visit to the Shell Technology Centre.

“I’m fascinated by the participants’ creativity and enthusiasm,” said Dr Thomas Zengerly, CEO of Shell Germany. Jury member and children’s TV science show moderator Clarissa Corrêa da Silva was also impressed by the wide variety of ideas. “It’s exciting to see how young people approach a topic like this and develop innovative ideas. The jury found it a difficult decision because all presentations were so good and the approaches so different.”

Andreas Simon, STEM coordinator at Käthe Kollwitz Gymnasium in Wesseling, added, “A competition like #makethefuturerheinland is extremely relevant because it underscores the importance of STEM subjects and heightens young peoples’ interest.” Jury member Evelyn Krauter, a final-year pupil at Käthe Kollwitz Gymnasium in Wesseling and a successful veteran of multiple “Jugend forscht” competitions in the Cologne/Bonn region, remarked, “Although it’s a competition, everybody won because they got to go way beyond the constraints of day-to-day school routine.”

(Source: Shell; photos: Dieter Jacobi)