An innovative proposal to harvest water in some of the world’s most arid locations has won the international competition Shell Ideas360. A team of Concordia and McGill students beat out more than 600 submissions to emerge as the only North American competitors in the top five presenting to an international panel of judges in Amsterdam.
The team is composed of Concordia students Al-Hurr Al-Dalli and Charles Gedeon, as well as recent McGill graduate Sami Sayegh. Their project involves building Skywells, large sail-like structures with a hydrophobic coating to collect dew that forms during the night. In conceiving the Skywells, the three students, who grew up in the United Arab Emirates, were inspired by the practices of the nomadic Bedouin people.
Sayegh, with a background in biology and social science, was responsible for developing the original Skywell concept. Gedeon, a marketing student, used his experience in graphic design to generate a computer model of the Skywell. Al-Dalli, a film student, produced the team’s video submission and analyzed the geopolitical issues that might impact the project.
The team also drew on the expertise of Xavier-Henri Hervé, founder of District 3, Concordia’s centre for innovation and entrepreneurship. Hervé helped the trio craft the pitch that won them the Best Presentation Award at the Shell Ideas360 competition.
Alan Shepard, president and vice-chancellor of Concordia University, congratulates the winning team. “I am proud of our students’ innovation and global engagement. I am also thrilled to see Concordia’s District 3 nurturing such transformative ideas and helping them shine on the international stage.”
“The Skywell project is a wonderful example of our students’ commitment to help make the world a better place,” said McGill University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier. “We congratulate Sami Sayegh and his teammates for this creative idea to assist communities that are struggling to secure basic needs.”
The Shell Ideas360 competition is designed to promote innovative, inexpensive and sustainable solutions to global water, energy and food problems. The winning team is awarded a National Geographic Expedition and will be considered for support by the Shell GameChanger program, which is designed to prove the technical and commercial viability of an idea quickly and affordably.
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