With the depletion of fossil fuels and other natural resources, innovating and implementing alternative, eco-friendly solutions to make power easily available and affordable is the need of the hour. The theme for GE’s Edison Challenge 2014 was along those lines
GE launched the 1st edition of the national ‘GE Edison challenge’ contest back in 2008 with the aim of finding the best scientific and engineering talent. Last year’s challenge saw students creating solutions for improving healthcare in India and other emerging countries. For the 2014 challenge, student teams were required to come up with an idea to make affordable power available 24X7 in India.
“Availability of reliable power has been a live issue in all developing countries. In view of the recent focus on concepts like Smart Cities etc., absence of affordable, accessible and reliable power will emerge as a key impediment. Hence, this year we challenged the students to develop relevant solutions to address energy issue in the country.” Mariasundaram Antony, General Manager, India Engineering Operations, GE Power & Water said.
The evaluation was on the basis of innovation, novelty, feasibility and potential impact of idea, customer value, commercialization of the idea and quality of compilation. The participants’ presentation abilities were also tested to see if they could deliver their message clearly, bring clarity of data and solutions presented and showcase creativity and imagination in the tools used for presentation.
IIT Delhi won 1st place and received a prize of Rs. 10 lakhs. The solution proposed by the team was an integrated small scale biodiesel production unit to be deployed in restaurants, hotels etc for conversion of waste cooking oil into biodiesel and also in rural areas in combination with a seed crusher for conversion of oil seeds into biodiesel.
Knowledge Institute of Technology, Salem were the runners-up and received a prize of Rs. 5 lakhs for their solution – Novel design of a high efficiency vertical axis wind turbine. Their unique design is capable of generating power three times greater than the existing wind turbine designs. It aims to maximize the wind to electrical energy conversion ratio and overcome the pressure imbalance on the existing blade designs.