EDF Energy – HPC Visitor Centre

Educating visitors about the creation of energy

EDF Energy is constructing two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C – the first new stations in two decades – to provide zero-carbon electricity for around six million homes in Britain.

EDF wanted to create a space that would educate visitors about the urgent need for low-carbon energy, and how EDF’s construction of Hinkley Point C, and the use of other renewable energy sources, will help Britain achieve net zero.

The outcome is a visitor centre boasting an incredible array of interactive and immersive exhibits, seamlessly blending physical and virtual assets to deliver a unique experience.

How the visitor centre came together

Bringing the centre to life required the skills and experience of a multi-supplier team led by EDF Energy.

We have a longstanding partnership with EDF and had worked on other educational gamified content, like Reactor Runner. So, EDF chose us to deliver the software that tied the visitor centre together. We brought to life the design delivered by Smith and Jones, as well as to create new content to fit within the centre’s overall ethos. We were on site throughout the installation in 2021 and have returned annually to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Museum and heritage specialists, Beaufort Bespoke, worked alongside us to create several physical models. These showcase the layout of the nuclear reactors being constructed, along with a model of a nuclear reactor in more detail. Part of our remit was to create software that integrated the models with interactive tables and an augmented reality app that we also developed.

Finally, we worked with audio-visual designers, integrators, and consultants at DJW, who installed the interactive tables and projector systems which our software ran on.

Exhibits inside the visitor centre

The centre offers plenty for visitors to explore.

As they enter, they start in an immersive presentation space, with projectors creating a seamless curved screen that displays content controlled by an interactive table (an evolution of our previous app). The screen shows a variety of content, such as the fundamentals of how heat and energy are created, as well as 360° footage of the site under construction which we created for EDF. Visitors can also view what the nuclear power stations will look like when they are completed.

The rest of the centre includes:

  • Three interactive tables that explore Net Zero, Turbines, and Radiation. Each table features a custom model at its centre, engaging users in educational games and providing in-depth insights into various topics. Touch foil is embedded under the surface to allow touch interactivity with the models. At one of the tables, visitors can start up a model turbine from the interactive display and see how it generates power. Another table has visitors try out different future energy mixes to try to achieve Net Zero. And at the Radiation table, visitors experiment with creating effective barriers against radiation using various substances.
  • A chain reaction game, interacted with using another table, with results shown on a projected screen. We created the software that runs the game and the audiovisual interfacing.
  • An interactive site model of Hinkley Point C – created by Beaufort Bespoke, it’s a combination of 3D-printed plastics and hand-machined alloys. And to bring this model to life, we created an augmented reality app. Visitors hold up a tablet and, as they move it around the model, the app highlights points of interest around the site.

Our takeaways

We thoroughly enjoyed contributing to this project alongside other suppliers, creating a visitor centre that provides an insider’s view of Hinkley Point C. It gave us another opportunity to work with a wide range of technologies, developing the software and content to help bring it all together into a unique installation.

For more on the visitor centre’s creation, we highly recommend checking out these excellent case studies from Smith and Jones and Beaufort Bespoke.

Key Facts
Date Deployed
Bespoke physical installations
Key Features
Interactive physical installation
Designed for post-COVID onsite visits
Designed for long-term operational robustness

Get in touch

We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about emerging technologies like VR, AR, or AI, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.