Student winners of Climate Change Thought Leadership Awards announced
Specialist anaerobic digestion (AD) and green project funder, Privilege Finance, runs the awards each year to identify and nurture future leaders of the renewable energy industry.
Privilege Finance’s chief executive officer, Chris Winward, announced the winners after weeks of deliberation by a panel of expert judges.
The awards are split into two categories – one is for students completing a Master’s degree; and one is for those completing a PhD. The winners from each category win a £1,000 (€1.1k) cash prize and a tour of an AD plant, alongside networking and mentoring opportunities.
The winner for this year’s PhD category – Maryam Dewiandratika from Imperial College London – completed a research project focussing on improving the process by which woody agricultural byproducts like straw is broken down by anaerobic digestion in developing countries.
“By using local materials to increase the effectiveness breaking down agricultural waste products that would otherwise be burnt, Maryam’s research represents the potential for huge carbon savings,” said Winward.
Securing the prize for Master’s students was Jack Baker from the University of Exeter, whose research project compared different domestic shower systems to create a highly efficient wastewater heat recovery mechanism that could be retrofitted in homes across the UK.
“Using the global energy crisis as inspiration, Jack’s project offers the potential for millions of families to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat water for their showers, which in turn will reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” commented Winward.
He added: “It’s an honour to host these awards. Huge thanks go to our external judges, David Hurren, president of the British Compressed Gases Association, Mark Sommerfeld, deputy director of policy at the Renewable Energy Association, and Thomas Minter, director at Malaby Biogas Ltd, Palisade Real Assets (UK) Ltd and BioticNRG Ltd.”
David Hurren emphasised the merit of both the winning projects: “The standard of entries this year was again excellent which made choosing the winners very difficult, but the two winning projects stood out for their levels of enthusiasm, innovation and the real-world impact of their research.”