Schoolchildren help to generate clean energy from mud


Norfolk schoolchildren are helping the University of East Anglia (UEA) to demonstrate the power of mud to generate clean energy.

Schools from across Norfolk are being invited to take part in a competition to see whose soil creates the most energy – or “mudwatts” - by sending soil samples to UEA scientists, who will reveal the results at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show (28-29 June).

“Energy-generating microbes are abundant in soil and we want to illustrate the potential power that lies beneath our feet as an energy source,” said Dr Tom Clarke from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences. “A mudwatt is a renewable power source that uses micro-organisms to drive the process, and effectively removes contamination from the soil by turning chemical energy into electrical energy.”

The experiment will help to teach children about microbiology, energy, chemistry, physics and environmental engineering – as well as give them the chance to win prizes - by sending a soil samples along with details of the location they were taken from. The scientific team will judge the entries on their maximum power level, total power output and length of power of the charge.

The mudwatts will on show be at the Royal Norfolk Show, in UEA’s Discovery Zone, where the winners will be announced. The closing date for entries is Monday 12 June - for more information about taking part, email Tom.Clarke@uea.ac.uk.