Team from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, win audience choice award in global innovation competition with unique seaweed processing kit to combat food poverty

Three students from Nanyang Technological University have today been officially recognised as some of the brightest young minds in innovation.

Their idea to create a starter kit called NutriSea, which aims to tackle ‘hidden hunger’ for communities who do not have access to essential micronutrients, topped a live audience vote during the final of the global innovation competition, Shell Ideas360.

Shell Ideas360 calls on young people to submit their own inventive solutions to the planet’s energy, water and food challenges, and saw the students, known as Team REPiphany, beat almost 1,000 entries from 140 countries to land the Audience Choice Award. The students were able to take their idea from concept to a full fledged business case, in collaborating with some of the best minds in the world, all whilst honing their skills above and beyond their curriculum over the last year.

The finalists travelled from around the world to the Shell Ideas360 finale at Make the Future London – a festival of ideas and innovation taking place at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Here Team REPiphany, alongside finalist teams from India, Singapore, US and UK, presented their ideas to a judging panel of business and NGO experts.

Finally, a live audience of over 150 fellow students and industry experts were polled in their seats, with Team REPiphany’s idea voted the most innovative, collaborative and potentially game-changing of all. Each team member will now receive a brand new Google Smartwatch courtesy of Shell.

Team member, Wei Loong Ang said:

“At the moment one third of the world’s population suffers from ‘hidden hunger’ by not having access to essential micronutrients. In addition to this, an ecological disaster of overgrowing Sargassuma seaweed is devastating local sea-life. We have looked to solve both issues by turning waste into nutrients – through our NutriSea toolkit which shows local communities how to turn Sargassuma into a nutritious food supplement.

“Coming to the Shell Ideas360 finals in London and meeting with so many exciting innovators has been a fantastic experience. It just makes us even more driven to get out there and come up with ideas to tackle the world’s resource challenges.“

Ronan Cassidy, Chief Human Resources & Corporate Officer for Shell, said:

“With Shell Ideas360 we hope to inspire and excite the next generation of leaders and innovators to think about the pressures challenging the world’s resources in the coming decades. For these young self-starters coming up with a great idea is just the first part. Taking a concept from ideation to execution is a larger part of the challenge, and that’s why nurturing bright young minds is so important.”

“The competition provides university students, from across the world, with a unique opportunity to advance their ideas with the support of Shell mentors and subject matter experts. From increasing the world’s food production to maximising the opportunities for sea-based solar power – there have been so many incredible projects with great potential that have been revealed at the competition. It is exciting to think that one day, one of these students’ ideas could make the future.”

The students in Team REPiphany included: Matthew James, Nur Syazana Puteri Binte Asmuni and Wei Loong Ang.

Shell Ideas360 is now in its third year having first begun in 2014, with over 16,000 registrations applying this season – and a rigorous assessment of ideas to assess their criteria of being novel, doable, valauable and relevant – reaching the finals was no mean feat. In a hard fought final, it was team The Lean Mean Graphene Machine Team from the University of Illinois whose idea to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from power plants with novel coating process won the Judges Choice award. They won the prestigious Shell Ideas360 trophy and a National Geographic Adventure.

The finalist teams were celebrated in the prestigious award ceremony on the July 1, filled with students and academics, including senior Shell executives John Abbott, Downstream Director and Ronan Cassidy, Chief Human Resources & Corporate Officer, as well as VIP guest Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the Science Museum Group.

The five finalist teams competing in the 2016 grand final were:

  • The Lean Mean Graphene Machine, University of Illinois, USA
    Idea: develop coating process to implement graphene to the outside of cooling water pipes in condensers – to help increase efficiency, reduce costs, and minimise environmental footprint of power plants. Watch the pitch video here.
  • The SeaShrooms Project, Singapore Management University, Singapore
    Idea: taking inspiration from plankton to create independent floating solar cells to maximise sea-based solar energy. Watch the pitch video here.
  • GrowSmart, Indian Institute of Technology, India
    Idea: bring innovation to farming with a low-cost diagnostic tool, monitoring soil/plant health, to deliver 1.5 x rise of crop production. Watch the pitch video here.
  • REPiphany, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
    Idea: starter kit teaching people in the developing world how to make use of Sargassuma seaweed’s nutritious value to address food poverty. Watch the pitch video here.
  • Tri-gen, University of Cambridge, UK
    Idea: design a car roof that cools itself like a plant, by allowing heat to be carried away by evaporation of water, without using fuel or electricity. Watch the pitch video here.

The free festival, Make the Future London featuring Shell Eco-marathon, is live from June 30 to July 3, hosted in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Click here to find out more.