The National Decommissioning Centre welcomed 17 pupils from Northfield Academy as part of their project studying Aberdeen as a sustainable city.


Students from Northfield Academy got the chance to engage with researchers and try out some new technology when they visited The National Decommissioning Centre (Wednesday, 1 December) as part of their project studying Aberdeen as a sustainable city.

It was an opportunity for the students to learn about offshore decommissioning and to speak to staff and students about their work including the underwater laser cutting project and the use of the marine simulator to trial novel offshore floating wind technology.

As part of the visit, the students spent time touring the NDC’s engineering testing laboratory which houses a 5-metre-deep water tank, hyperbaric testing vessel and environmental chambers.

A highlight for those keen on computer gaming were the activities in the immersive marine simulator where the students got hands-on experience of piloting an ROV, steering a floating wind turbine out of a harbour and lifting a subsea manifold onto a boat.

NDC Manager Dr Karen McArdle organised the visit with Amy Ether, Business and Community Support Officer at the Wood Foundation.

Dr McArdle said: “We were delighted to host this group of first year students from Northfield Academy. The students’ knowledge and understanding of energy systems, environmental issues and the need for sustainable solutions was very impressive. They certainly kept us on our toes with their probing questions such as ‘What will happen after net zero is reached?’, ‘What do we think will be the jobs of the future?’ and ‘Does nuclear count as a renewable energy?’.

“It was encouraging to see the effort and problem-solving skills applied by the students when they were tasked with building their model wind turbines and carrying out some experiments. Thanks to Craig Macnamara, – who is doing a PhD on the optimisation of floating offshore wind mooring/anchor systems – for his help with the wind experiments and all the NDC staff who contributed to the day.”

Amy Ether, Business and Community Support Officer based at Northfield Academy – an Excelerate School, added: “Our visit to the NDC was an incredible opportunity for our learners to contextualise their knowledge in a real-world setting. Our young people particularly enjoyed the opportunity to speak in small groups with Professor Richard Neilson, evident from the challenging questions they came prepared with. Thank you to all of the NDC staff for their support, and particularly to Dr Karen McArdle, without whom this visit would not have been possible.”

Notes for Editors

PublishedFriday December 8th, 2023