We came up with an innovative way of providing an insight into the principles of refrigeration for visitors to the Big Bang Fair held at the NEC, Birmingham, in 2015. Our BicyCool apparatus was designed and built to demonstrate the work required to cool the air inside a box.
The BicyCool stand comprised two static bicycles, which were pedalled to directly drive refrigeration compressors linked to refrigeration circuits that provided cooling for cool boxes in which drinks had been stored. Heat was rejected from the refrigerant to the ambient environment at the radiator. Probes in the cool boxes relayed temperature data to display screens. Despite the rather unconventional nature of the refrigeration system, BicyCool was a major attraction for visitors and was a fun way to provide an insight into the fundamentals of refrigeration. The system wasn’t only popular with students, but also with high profile visitors, including Science Minister, Greg Clarke, and the BBC’s science presenter, Marty Jopson, who also took turns at pedalling the cycles.
The BicyCool initiative was our contribution to the highly successful Cool Know How stand at the Big Bang Fair. Other activities and the stand were co-sponsored by AB Group, Institute of Refrigeration, British Refrigeration Association, EBM Papst, Dean & Wood, Mitsubishi Electric, Danfoss, Harp, GEA Searle, Space Engineering and Carel UK. The purpose of the Cool Know How stand was to attract young scientists and engineers, teachers, parents and STEM professionals to inform them of career opportunities in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump related industries. The Big Bang Fair was about careers and futures, highlighting the exciting possibilities which exist for young people with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The event attracted some 75,000 visitors over its four days, with over 12,000 students, between the ages of 7 and 19, stopping off at the Cool Know How stand.
Commenting on the initiative, Dr Ed Hammond stated:
“We must engage with students at all academic levels, to excite them in the many career paths available within the refrigeration industry. The recruitment of both apprentices and graduate level candidates will help us strengthen the quality of personnel working in our industry. With our support, young engineers will be able to hone their skill sets and address the environmental and product development challenges, which face the refrigeration sector.”