Two student teams from École Polytechnique among the EuroTeQaThon's finalists
The international competition "EuroTeQaThon" represents the final phase of the EuroTeQ Collider course and is organized within the framework of EuroTeQ Engineering University, in which École Polytechnique is a member along five European partner universities, all specialized in science and technology. Stimulating challenge-based learning, the new course format Collider asks students to team up to tackle concrete challenges.
The course’s central theme, "Leave no waste behind", requested students to develop solutions to address the imperative of reducing waste, one of today's major environmental issues. The concrete issues the students were to tackle all had to fit into this overall theme and were divided into three sub-categories: Cities, Energy, and Consumption.
The final competition, EuroTeQaThon, brought together the finalists of the six EuroTeQ member universities - École Polytechnique (L’X), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Technical University of Munich (TUM), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) – and their teachers of the course.
The 16 finalist teams, composed of 3 to 5 students, met at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) from November 23 to 25, 2022, and presented their projects to a jury.
Two innovative solutions developed by École Polytechnique’s students
École Polytechnique was represented among the finalists by two teams: Clara Feypel, Federico Baldanzi, Daniel Ramon-Torres, and Ines Boussena, enrolled in the School’s Environmental Engineering and Sustainability Management Master’s degree program, competed with their project "A.I.R. (Actuation In Real-time) in the category “Energy”. This team developed a smart system that measures indoor air quality parameters and reduces a facility's energy consumption without generating adverse health effects.
The team "A.I.R." during their at the Technical University of Munich
"The EuroTeQ Collider allowed us to contribute to tackling environmental problems with new solutions. Asking us to work in teams challenged each member to contribute and add their complementary knowledge. I am proud of our project", declares Clara Feypel.
The second team, composed of Adamu Mohammed-Kabiru, Zanabou Traoré, and Keshav Anuj, all three enrolled in École Polytechnique's Master's degree program in Environmental Engineering and Sustainability Management.
With the project "R3: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle", the team came up with a proposition of reusable and recyclable beverage containers, participating in a circular economy model.
"As an engineering student, I consider it my duty to try to find solutions to real-life problems", explains Adamu Mohammed-Kabiru.
The team "R3: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" together with Élise Herlicq and Olivier Chapleur
Competing in an international and interdisciplinary setting
A lecturer at École Polytechnique, Olivier Chapleur, guided both teams throughout the EuroTeQ Collider in developing their projects, and he was also present during the final in Munich. Enthusiastic about the course's pedagogical approach, Olivier Chapleur explains that "beyond the project itself, it is the engineering of the project itself, the rallying of new partners, and the management of reversals that represents a large part of the learning process".
He adds that "the EuroTeQaThon then initiates the students to face other teams in an international environment. They learn to present to an audience, answer questions and defend their projects in front of a jury. The entire experience is very stimulating, and the exchange with others has led to a maturation of the projects".
In addition to the feedback and pitching sessions, the 2-day program of the EuroTeQaThon also included training sessions on how to best prepare one's pitch, for example. The participants from École Polytechnique were delighted with the program and also the feedback they received on their projects. "I very much appreciated the mutual support and transparency the participants of the different teams granted each other", explains Zanabou Traoré, who worked on the "R3" project. Federico Baldanzi shares his impressions: "Exchanging with students from other European universities, speaking in public during the pitch sessions, and receiving critical feedback on our project were all very instructive experiences".
For Adamu Mohammed-Kabiru, it is "the importance of diversity and its impact on the design of ideas that is one of the most valuable lessons imparted at the EuroTeQaThon”. He appreciated that "given the different academic and professional backgrounds, the exchanges with the students from the other universities resulted in new ideas that we could incorporate into our project".
One winning team per category - City, Energy, and Consumption
After two intense days, the jury designated the winning team in three categories - Cities, Energy, and Consumption. Proposing a smart application for a more sustainable city, TalTech's "Urban mobility hub" project team won in the category "City". CTU's team, who had developed a solution using waste heat to create more electricity (A new life for waste heat), was declared the winner in the category "Energy". Finally, the team "SORTONICS" from TU/e, who elaborated a solution based on photonic technologies to detect and sort waste, won in the category "Consumption".
These three winning teams will have the opportunity to present their projects to the European Commission in Brussels in January.