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Student Tackles Power Problem

7 June 2010

A Costain-sponsored student has helped a team from Birmingham University share first place in a national competition to find solutions to a topical question faced by the power industry.

Adam Flory, 21, who is due to graduate in summer 2011 with a Masters in civil engineering, receives annual sponsorship funding from Costain and undertakes summer work placements with the Group.

He was a member of a four-strong team that entered an RWE nPower challenge to universities in which the power generator set the question of how an organisation like it could deal with the effects of climate change.

Adam's team put forward the idea of controlled, sacrificial flooding of flat plains upstream from highly-populated areas to protect homes and commercial premises, then running the water off through turbines when the flooding danger had passed.

"We initially had to submit a 500-word synopsis of our scheme. We were successful and chosen to go forward to the next round, giving a six-minute presentation at Ferrybridge power station near Leeds," says Adam. "We then had to give an eight-minute presentation held at Wembley Stadium in front of senior nPower board directors in the final."

An accompanying model of such a scheme, made out of the trusty modelling standbys of chicken wire, paper and plaster of Paris, then painted, attracted the attention of the judges, says Adam.

Each team member received a cheque for £1,250 and their university department was also awarded £5,000. They are also due to present their project to a selected audience at the House of Commons on 23 June and receive a certificate from the Prime Minister.