For the Biomimicry, Nature Inspiring Technology challenge, a team from New York University Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates submitted the Hydrotech Cleaning Solutions idea. Inspired by the Namib Desert beetle, the team proposed a wiper-like device that harvests water from the air with the help of synthetic material and provides a cleaning solution for dusty solar panels. The team argued their project will minimize cleaning costs for solar panels used in Abu Dhabi and help conserve scarce water resources.
Students from King Edward Medical University in Lahore, Pakistan, came up with the Intervention and Imaging Combined: Integrated ORs solution as an answer to the Imaging and Therapy Rooms of the Future challenge. Their idea to optimize multiple aspects of imaging and surgical rooms for use in developing countries attracted the judges’ attention. With economic constraints in mind, the students proposed a design that places highly-expensive imaging tools such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) devices and Computed Tomography (CT) scanners in a way that enables their use for indoor and outdoor patients, without compromising the sterility and functionality of operating rooms.
For the Next Generation of Grid Control challenge, a team from the University of Sharjah in the UAE devised a solution to address the Gulf region’s increased electricity demand during hot summer months. The project suggests supplying cellular structures with an easily-accessible source of energy during extreme heat periods. To achieve this, solar energy powers an unconventional impulse steam turbine that feeds the grid during peak hours and stores excess energy for use during low-demand periods. The system uses the mechanical properties of a low density foam-buoy in water tanks to store energy in its optimum form, providing an eco-friendly and cost-efficient solution.
Another contribution from the University of Sharjah was the Cool Clay idea for the Self-Sustained Sensors System challenge. The team was selected for designing an economical, portable and environmentally-friendly cooling system that requires no input energy due to its use of evaporative cooling. It uses material with high thermal conductivity sandwiched between two layers of pottery clay. The clay is sprayed with measured amounts of water, leaving a length of exposed material protruding to act as the cooling element inside the enclosure that needs temperature control.
The EGY Tracker team won the People’s Choice Award with a project to increase the efficiency of solar power conversion. The award was voted for by the public, who were able to register as community members on the Siemens Student Award website and show their support for a particular idea by clicking the “Like” button. EGY Tracker’s idea to enhance the amount of time that a solar panel is directly perpendicular to sunlight received the most “Likes” from the public.
“The Siemens Student Award 2013 has attracted a very impressive level of participation from across the Middle East, and we have been amazed with the resourcefulness and innovation the entrants have demonstrated,” said Erich Kaeser, CEO of Siemens Middle East. “The finalists have shown particular ingenuity with their projects, applying creative scientific solutions to some of the most critical issues facing the region today.”
All winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on December 9. Out of the four finalists, the frontrunner will be rewarded with a cash prize of USD25,000, followed by USD10,000 for each of the three runners-up and USD1,500 for the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
This year’s Student Award attracted entrants from more than 120 universities, from countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Libya, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. The competition is in its second year, following the inaugural contest in 2011.