Project MALCOLM: the potential of pedal power

Project MALCOLM, a joint venture between Bridgend College and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, was launched today at the College’s STEAM Academy. The project showcases the use of adaptive technology to convert pedal power into a sustainable energy source.  

Packed with interactive student challenges and the chance to learn about the importance and impact of green technology, the launch attracted an excellent turnout. In attendance were around 100 school students, Cardiff University, the NHS Innovation Team and Cllr Jane Gebbie from Bridgend County Borough Council, amongst others.

MALCOLM stands for Manufacturing Adaptable Learning Collaboration of Learner Minds, an ethos which is at the very heart of the project. The College has been working with Year 7 students and staff from Maesteg Comprehensive School in developing the pedal-powered buggy, which was revealed today. This project has been invaluable in engaging students in STEM subjects with a long-term view of creating a sustainable future for Wales.

The concept behind the buggy is the energy produced from pedalling can be converted into electricity. This energy can then be used to power a range of devices, whilst simultaneously contributing to the health and wellbeing of the user. The potential and benefits of pedal power are numerous, from an abundant green energy source to physical rehabilitation.

Claire George, Sector Champion for IT and Enterprise, has been at the helm of the project since its inception. She commented:

“It has been fantastic to see such a truly collaborative enterprise come to life and to involve Year 7 students in all aspects of the project. By engaging with them at such a crucial time in their education, it has helped them realise their own potential within the sector. Project MALCOLM has many possible uses and it’ll be exciting to see how students adapt the technology in future.”

The Cardiff University-funded project not only encourages a STEM knowledge exchange between the College and Year 7 students, but also highlights the value and impact of developing environmentally friendly forms of energy. Bridgend College is committed to making sustainable choices and pursuing projects that will help cut carbon emissions, with the aim of becoming Net Zero by 2030. 

By having numerous applications, the project has great potential as a social enterprise. To be run from the STEAM Academy, the enterprise will manufacture project packs based on the buggy prototype which will then be distributed to partner organisations, creating a circular economy. Additionally, the enterprise will enhance partner relationships and encourage the development of student entrepreneurial behaviour.

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