Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) will bring its new “Fuelling Our Future” energy education programme to middle schools across Northeast Ohio in December.

Developed in conjunction with the Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Collaborative (RHFCC) and the Centre for Transport and the Environment (CTE), Fuelling Our Future’s multi-faceted curriculum is designed to introduce seventh graders to alternative fuels, the environmental impact of clean technologies, and the career opportunities that will be created as the demand for renewable energy grows in the years ahead.

SARTA has received numerous awards for its clean energy initiatives which include the acquisition and deployment of one of the world’s largest fleets of hydrogen fuel powered-buses.

The programme is being funded by grants from the Federal Transportation Administration and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency educational outreach programme. Columbus State Community College is leading development of Fuelling Our Future’s curriculum.

“We want to ensure that this important course of study is available to any teacher or school system that would like to offer it. The FTA grant funding and our partnership with SARTA and CTE makes that possible,” said Andrew Thomas, Director of the RHFCC and the Energy Policy Centre and Cleveland State University.

The curriculum offers students hands-on learning experiences including the opportunity to build both a wind turbine and batteries, assemble a fuel cell-powered model car, and experiment with photovoltaics.

According to Thomas, the programme’s lesson plans and kits are aligned with state Content Standards for seventh graders with only slight modifications may be used in either grade and high school.

All materials needed for the curriculum, including a three-hour professional development course for integrated science teachers, are available free of charge from SARTA and the RHFCC.

“Our area is already a leading centre for hydrogen fuel cell R&D and manufacturing.” Said Kirt Conrad, CEO of SARTA.

“A recent study concluded that HFCs having the potential to create 65,000 jobs in Ohio alone. Letting young students know those jobs will be out there and what type of training and education they’ll need to secure them gives them a leg up on dominating a field that will drive the American economy for decades to come.”