St Thomas More Catholic Primary School pupil is finalist in BT Young Pioneer Award for Tech4Good 2021 with wind powered car concept

by Oliver Kemp

A pupil from Medway has wowed industry experts with her design for a car powered by the wind.

Annabelle Sapoor, who is just 11-years-old, is a finalist for the BT Young Pioneer Award, one of five 8-19 year-olds to be recognised for their world-changing ideas.

Annabelle has ambitions to change the world with science. Photo: Billypix ltd
Annabelle has ambitions to change the world with science. Photo: Billypix ltd

The Chatham school girl, from St Thomas More Catholic Primary School on Bleakwood Road, submitted her concept for a commercial road car powered by wind turbine technology.

The turbines would be placed under the grill and the wheels, producing energy which would keep the car running without having to stop and charge like a standard electric car.

Now a finalist, she is in the running to win £10,000 to go towards bringing her idea to life.

Speaking to KentOnline, the budding scientist explained how she came up with the concept: "I've always likes physics and I've been interested in aerodynamics, and I wanted to find a way to use all of the things I like doing while impacting the world in a positive way.

"I watch TV programmes about physics, and I listen to podcasts about physics and those types of things."

If her ambition wasn't enough to be impressed by, Annabelle has even come up with a striking name for her concept - Huracan Makina.

Huracan is the Mayan God of wind and Makina means ‘car’ in Albanian - making up 'wind car.'

The idea of using wind turbine technology on a vehicle is what caught the eye of the judges of the Young Pioneer Award, who are looking for clever ways of using technology to solve some of our biggest obstacles in slowing climate change.

Electric vehicles currently rely on the owner regularly charging them in between extended periods of use - and those who do own an electric car are said to frequently experience 'range anxiety'.

There are also a limited number of charging points available across the country, and reports suggest a dedicated home charging point will only give you between 10 and 30 miles of range per hour plugged in.

Annabelle with her dad Gideon. Picture: Billypix ltd
Annabelle with her dad Gideon. Picture: Billypix ltd

But Annabelle's concept car would take the kinetic energy made by driving the car to power it, effectively ending fears of running out of juice during a journey.

And the 11-year-old is not the only person in the country thinking innovatively about vehicles and wind power - a Whitstable entrepreneur is busy designing wind turbines that would be powered by cars driving past on dual carriageways.

If the Chatham pupil is chosen from the five finalists, she will also get support from BT's experts to help turn the idea into reality.

Annabelle said: "I'd feel like I'd have accomplished my goal and my dream, and I'd know I'd be responsible for making the world a better place."

But she also has a realist outlook on the state of climate change, adding: "The damage is already done, so we need to find a way to make it as best as we can."

Annabelle and her dad Gideon. Picture: Billypix ltd
Annabelle and her dad Gideon. Picture: Billypix ltd

BT co-founded the Tech4Good awards with AbilityNet over 10 years ago, to recognise organisations and individuals who use digital tech to improve the lives of others, and to help to make the world a better place.

Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer Division, said, "We’re delighted to once again be sponsoring the Tech4Good Awards, which celebrates innovation in technology, and this year we’re focusing on climate change.

"It’s incredibly inspiring to see so many young people have so many wonderful ideas for this year’s entries. Using technology for good has been at the heart of BT Young Pioneer for over a decade, and once again this year’s finalists and their incredible ideas have the potential to make a real difference to each of our lives."

The telecom giant has made commitments to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045, and plans to electrify the majority of its 33,000 company vehicles by 2030.

The winner of the BT Young Pioneer Award will be announced on July 14 at the Tech4Good 2021 livestream event.

Annabelle is also hoping to increase the funding of her wind powered car by launching a crowdfunding campaign - find out more here.

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