2018 was a competition for the books. We had the largest competitor pool yet, with over 1100 students as part of almost 550 teams from 39 different countries. At the finals event, there were 10 teams from 5 nations represented; Ireland, Peru, Singapore, Australia and the United States of America. We cannot explain enough how ecstatic we were over this years turnout!
This years competition was once again held at Stony Brook University on Stony Brook, NY, located in the beautiful Charles B. Wang Center. Several speakers were on the lineup, including the Director of CSTL Ray Ann Havasy, President of Spellman HV Electronics Corp Dr. Loren Skeist, the Director of Community Relations at Stony Brook University Joan Dickenson, and Patent Attorney Chris Garvey. The teams presented to the judges in the morning, presenting to the public, media and each other while they waited their turn. In the afternoon, they pitched their product to a panel of local business associates, who gave advice on how they could make their ideas more marketable. Finally,by late afternoon, our judges had made their decision on who would be taking home our top prizes!
1st Place: Team Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Plainview, New York, USA
Ms. Audrey Shine and Ms. Danielle Kelly were our top finalists at this years Spellman Clean Tech Finals. They conceived an ingenious method to optimize hydrogen fuel cell performance with an application of graphene oxide/amine functionalized graphene oxide on electrodes. They want to make hydrogen fuel cells as efficient and powerful as possible, as they are an energy source that produces only water as a byproduct, which would certainly be an improvement over most energy systems today. Our winners met while doing separate research projects in the same lab, and realized they could combine them into what turned out to be a winning combination.
2nd Place: Team Sustainable Future, Palo Alto, California, USA
Coming from the sunny west coast, Mr. Benjamin Liao appropriately designed a mechanism that helps control heat levels from sunlight, and it won him second place in this year’s competition. Benjamin’s invention is a special thermochromic roof coating blended with paint. It changes temperature based on light levels, which allows you to keep your house warmer in winter, and cooler in summer. This decreases the need for heating and cooling system use, reducing both your money expenditures and carbon footprint simultaneously.
3rd Place: Team Eilíse Ireland, Douglas, Cork, Ireland
Our top team not from the US comes from across the Atlantic. Ms. Eilíse Ireland designed a small turbine to place inside a gutter, where it will utilize the natural inertia of the water flowing through it to create small amounts of electricity. While not designed with the intent to create a large amount of power, the inventor is correct in her assertion that any electricity that does not come from a fossil fuel source is a net gain in regards to our carbon footprint. This is something that can be used at almost any building in the world, and when you add it all up, the impact will be larger than you would first expect.
These three may have taken the top prize, but the other seven teams that made it to our finals contained equally ingenious and exemplary ideas. These students worked hard and created designs that will help us to save our planet from the damage we ourselves have caused it, and they should be proud of that fact. The same can be said about each and every team that entered. Their curiosity and motivation to create their own solution to such a consequential problem gives hope we will solve this issue sometime in the future, and with entrees like these we can confidently say that time is sooner rather than later.