“Power Up” team wins Irish leg of Invent for the Planet for prototype affordable energy generator

Friday, February 17, 2023 Press Office
Press Releases

29 universities from 22 locations take part including 35 students from Irish HEIs

A student team called “Power Up” has won the Irish leg of the 2023 international “Invent for the Planet” competition for developing a prototype affordable energy generator system using hydropower and wind power to generate electricity that’s stored in a battery.

The winning team consisted of Xing Ying Chuang, third year Biomedical student at ATU Galway; Tom Hakizinka Senga, second year Mechanical Engineering student at Dundalk IT; Tenis Ranjan, Postgraduate student at University of Galway; Edbin Ostilio Buezo Zuniga, first year engineering student at ATU Sligo; and Ontiretse Ishmael, PhD computing, ATU, describe their prototype “Own It” as “an affordable clean energy generator system which uses hydropower and wind power to generate electricity that’s stored in a battery. “Based on our calculation, the power generated by this system in one hour can light up approximately 250 light bulbs”, they said, adding “we should all be using clean energy to keep our planet intact.’’ The team were awarded a prize of €500.

Invent for the Plant is a 48-hour intensive design experience (IDE) that engages students at different universities around the world on a single weekend to solve high-impact, global problems. Organised by Texas A&M University, it ran synchronously in 29 universities across 22 worldwide locations during the weekend 10 to 12 February. ATU School of Engineering hosted the Irish leg of the competition for the second year in a row; 35 students competed from ATU (Galway, Donegal and Sligo campuses), University of Limerick, University of Galway, Munster Technological University (MTU), Technological University of Shannon (Tus) and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

The runner up “Eat Smart” team comprised of Caoimhe McCormack, first year Environmental Science student at ATU Sligo; Zain Ali, IT Master student at ATU Donegal; Vijay Kumar, IT Master student at ATU Donegal; and Jessica Henry, third year Software engineering year at ATU Sligo. “Innovation is the key to solving our world's most critical issues and at Eat Smart, we believe in using our creativity and drive to positively change the planet. We are proud to have received recognition for our solution to prevent food waste at the Invent for the Planet 2023 event and will continue to work towards a more sustainable future,” they said. They were awarded €200.

Another Irish team “Blue Carbon” designed a solution to remove existing carbon from the environment: ‘’We utilised the space beneath wind turbines for aquaculture, such as mollusc and seaweed farming, simultaneously removing carbon, and stimulating fish stocks through the creation of artificial reefs, benefiting wind farms, local fishermen and communities’’.

Eight different teams worked intensively on a selection of challenges and with guidance from mentors had to present a prototype, a 10-minute pitching presentation and 90 second video to a panel of judges. In total there were 10 global challenges that the teams could choose from, two submitted by the ATU sponsors Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

The top five worldwide teams will go on to compete in the final in Texas on 28 April. The short list will be announced later this month (Feb).

Organiser Dr Jack Saad, Fulbright Faculty Scholar, Texas A&M, and lecturer in Robotics at ATU Galway, says “Over the 48 hours, it was great to see students from different backgrounds and experience coalesce to from a talented team to develop a practical solution to some of the planet’s greatest challenges.

The event will leave an indelible mark on the participating students’ learning experience and will help give them the experience and confidence needed to overcome life’s challenges. Next year we plan to make the Irish leg of the event bigger.

The Irish Leg of the Invent for the Planet 2023 was kindly sponsored by Thermo King; Boston Scientific; Marine Institute, Bord Iascaigh Mhara – Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency; the Department of Agricultural, Food and Marine; and MathWorks for their kind sponsorship, and for all the assistance they give over the weekend. Your support is truly appreciated.”

Mentor and Sponsor Frank Kane, Aquaculture Section, Marine Institute, says: ‘’The Marine Institute is proud to be associated with such an empowering event, where some of the brightest the next generation has to offer worked intensively to find innovative, sustainable solutions to solve some of the key challenges affecting our planet today’’.

Damien Toner, Development and Innovation Executive, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), says: ‘’Invent for the Planet allowed some of Ireland's brightness students tackle some of the globes biggest challenges. I was blown away by the enthusiasm, passion and skill from all the participants. It was a pleasure to participate, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for these incredible young entrepreneurs’’.

Judge Máirtín Walsh, Processing Development Executive, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), says: ‘’ Young people have a marvellous passion to make a better future for all of us. ‘Invent for the planet’ helps nurture their drive and desire to innovate and create change and it encourages them to be leaders in that positive change’’

Judge Rick Office, ATU Vice President for Research and Innovation, says: “The challenges posed by Invent for the Planet require solutions that are implemented in developed countries and in the developing world. This scope is evident in the innovations proposed by the two top-placed teams emerging from IFTP 2023 at Atlantic Technological University”.