August 15, 2019, by pmzmah

MASS Field Trip

Our MASS (Modelling and Analytics for a Sustainable Society) students take on different challenges throughout the year. Ahead of their energy challenge, some of our students went down to Peterborough to visit the North Level District Internal Drainage Board. It came about when MASS student Alistair Delboyer used his contacts at the Environment Agency, and from there they were able to organise a trip to the Internal Drainage Board plant.

There are drainage systems all over the country which stop us from flooding, the areas that are above sea level are able to use gravity, however those that aren’t, such as this one in Peterborough, have to use an alternative method to physically pump the water away.

MASS students Alistair, Jack and Omomayowa stood by one of the pumps

The challenge that our students had been set was to model a small section of their drainage board, as Heather Collis explains:

“They gave us some data to analyse and we also built a model. On the day we went to the drainage board we were shown around the plant so that we could see the small section that we would be modelling so that we could get an idea of how it works. We learnt that their pump works by pumping water from still drainage channels into the tidal River Nene. It was good to be able to look inside the pumping station!”

Overall, the students really enjoyed the trip and learnt a lot from it, as Omomayewa Akele highlights:

“This is the first challenge we’ve addressed this way so it was a new and very interesting approach. I enjoyed going to site, meeting with the engineers and discussing how our skills and experience could contribute to their work. Our discussion offered some insight into the entire drainage process and what is done to prevent flooding. After hearing this, I was excited to get involved. I enjoyed working on this challenge and I hope they find our analysis and results helpful.”

So the energy challenge has now passed so we caught up with Heather to find out how it went.

“Overall, we feel the challenge has gone successfully. It has been really rewarding to work with partners in industry. We feel we’ve been able to make a good start on some data analysis and simple modelling that we hope they will find useful in any future analysis they undertake.”

To find out more about our MASS students and about the programme, click here.

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