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TUT Engineering Students Geared to Participate in Global Innovation Competition



TUT Engineering Students Geared to Participate in Global Innovation Competition

The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environments (FEBE) is gearing up to compete in an international competition, “Invent for the Planet 2023” (IFTP), on 20 April 2023, with students Antonio Lopes, Bernice Ngwenya, Phuti Ngoepe, Khutso Makgoka, Clement Ramatsetse, and Reandi Pieterse.

Tut Engineering Students Geared to Participate in Global Innovation Competition

In this picture, Antonie Smith and Duanne Engelbrecht with the Executive Dean, Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba and FEBE staff members, as well as the Greenies, the winning team, with their prototype, are shown.

The Texas A&M University organizes a global design competition every year called Invent for the Planet (IFTP). Judges from the industry will evaluate the prototypes presented by five final teams from multiple countries.

TUT Engineering Students Geared to Participate in Global Innovation Competition

South African universities were the only ones participating in the competition, out of 24 around the world. An intensive 48-hour design experience was conducted by 31 FEBE students from various disciplines.

Competition build-up.

A local event was organised by each participating university, and The Sun Never Sets on Innovation was launched on Friday, 10 February by Antonie Smith and Duanne Engelbrecht, Electrical Engineering lecturers and mentors.

A panel of judges from their local universities asked the students to create innovative, sustainable solutions to high-impact global problems, including affordable and clean energy, clean water and sanitation, and food waste. They were divided into six groups representing the Departments of Electrical, Chemical, Industrial, and Mechatronics.

He also organized and facilitated the event, which included ten design challenges generated by industry experts and sponsors. Some of the design challenges consisted of solving issues related to clean water and sanitation, disaster communication, affordable and clean energy, and smart social housing.

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Researchers, conceptualists, and developers raced against the clock to develop the final solution and present it to a panel of expert judges. Due to the ability to collaborate with other teams and see their progress, there was added pressure. Several panels of judges narrowed the six local teams down to three on Sunday, 12 February 2023 based on which team solved the problem the best.

The winning team

Students from the departments of Chemical, Industrial and Electrical came together to solve the global challenge of providing affordable and clean energy. The team, The Greenies, was comprised of Antonio Lopes, Bernice Ngwenya, Phuti Ngoepe, Khutso Makgoka, Clement Ramatsetse and Reandi Pieterse. A “simple, cleaner biogas generator that households could produce themselves” was devised.

Working in teams comes with challenges, even though the saying goes, teamwork makes dreams come true. The biggest challenge, according to third-year Chemical Engineering student Antonio Lopes, was assembling a team of students from different disciplines and agreeing on one idea. For the entire weekend, the biggest challenge was seeing the vision realized. You can produce Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) using our prototype, which works just like Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“While we knew how bio-gas is produced, producing it in such a way that it can be used in your home was new to me personally, having to figure out and design it from scratch,” Bernice Ngwenya, a third-year student.

Student entrepreneurs were taught entrepreneurial skills to prepare them for the workplace, Smith said. A faculty member emphasized the importance of training students in how to solve global issues with a high impact.

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The importance of entrepreneurial skills and management skills cannot be overstated. Despite having all the necessary technical skills, students are often faced with real-world problems as well as strictly defined problems in industry,” he said.

FEBE Executive Dean, Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba said,

This is consistent with the Faculty’s innovation strategy. By creating an environment that encourages innovation, we wanted students to find new solutions to problems and become more creative. By instilling innovation principles in our students, we can make knowledge work in a practical way.

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