The 2019 Clean Tech Competition has come to a close, after another record breaking year. This years competition saw almost 1200 students from 40 countries enter, with 6 of those making it to the final round, coming from China, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, the United States, Italy and Singapore to compete for our top prizes! These teams flew in to New York City, where they convened at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in the Great Hall, where members of the public came to view these young innovators work.
Throughout the day, we were joined by many special guests who have an extensive background in both engineering and research. Dr. Barry Shoop, Dean of the Albert Nerkin School of Engineering at the Cooper Union, Nicholas Kumbatovic, President of Cameron Engineering & Associates of New York, Dr. Alex Urban of the Columbia Electrochemical Energy Center, and Dr. Francisco de Leon of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering gave presentations on their work and careers, showing multiple different avenues and choices these young students could take in their futures.
This year also saw the expansion of the competition, to two separate categories, each with their own prizes and awards. Please read on below for a list of our winners from this years competition!
Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change
1st Place – Kevin Yang, Boulder, Colorado, United States
The grand prize winner in the category designed a novel efficient greenhouse film material containing a fluorescent dye that converts green light (reflected by plants) into red light (absorbed by plants to drive photosynthesis), and incorporates microdome-shaped surface light extraction structures, inspired by OLEDs, to extract fluoresced light and increase red photon flux through the film.
2nd Place – Bhawan Sandhu & Tzipora Schein, Cedarhurst, New York, United States
Our runner up team developed a cost-effective membrane for a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, that is easier to hydrate and uses less Nafion than conventional membranes, while permitting proton migration and power generation at high temperatures. This allows for greater stability while allowing vastly increased power output from traditional membranes.
3rd Place – Kristie Ramli, Natasha Chin & Joanne Chua, Singapore
Our third place team created an energy efficient water filter that allows the removal of heavy metals from the water supply. This filter also works in a wide range of pH levels, while traditional filters operate in fairly strict pH ranges.
1st Place – Ishita Bhimavarupa, Plainsboro, New Jersey, United States
Our grand prize winner created an app that allows users to easily track rain water cycles, allowing them to harvest water in a much easier way than traditional methods. It allows users to track and predict their water storage abilities, creating a seamless path towards efficient and sustainable fresh water use.
2nd Place – Gabriel Matemba, Harare, Zimbabwe
Our second place team created an aquaponics system you control via the internet. Aquaponics is the method of using the waste fish produce to fertilize plant life, using the excreted ammonia in place of fertilizers, which cause heavy pollution. By growing the plants in the same water that the fish live in, the plants clean the water and use the same water system.
3rd Place – Steven Rosenstark, Livingston, New Jersey, United States
Steven’s experiments provide proof of concept for the use of multifunctional reactive electrochemical membranes (MREMs) in order to induce electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) for the removal of organic pollutants from water. The system he developed ingeniously combines parts of already in use systems to create a superior filter for industrial dye.
While these six teams received top honors, every team that made its way to the finals had created something truly unique and extraordinary. Many of these teams traveled dozens of hours to make their way here, to defend their project and its merits against a field of other highly qualified competitors. The hard work and dedication shown by these teams give hope that we will work our way through the many problems we face on our way to sustainability living on this planet.