HYDROCARBONS have had their chips as a North-East School does its bit for the environment.

Members of the STEM club at Wyvern Academy, Darlington, have been processing used cooking oil from the kitchens to use as bio-diesel in the school minibus.

The eco-project is one of a host of extra-curricular activities designed to promote science among girls and boys.

The increasingly-popular STEM club also sees the students build links with local industry, such as engine-maker Cummins, and go on field trips to Silverstone, the spiritual home of Formula 1, where engineers remain at the cutting edge of global technology.

STEM leader Dennis Kwok said: “When we started the club the aim was to bridge the gender gap and attract more girls – now they outnumber the boys.

“This is hugely aspirational and shows them the global opportunities accessible to them through STEM subjects. We look at fluid dynamics, aerodynamics and internal combustion. The cooking oil project also addresses environmental issue which will be very much part of their futures.”

Student Evie Rickinson, 14, said: “It’s great fun and has helped me enjoy science even more because it is more in depth and we can do things we wouldn’t do in lessons.”

Tracy Toyer, 13, added: “I love STEM Club, it’s my favourite activity of the week. I feel I have been doing much better in my science lessons because of it.”

Last year the group took part in a competition organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers where they were placed third from 60 teams with a video on local engineering heroes based on Cleveland Bridge.