From a field of 600 entries, a team of two California State University Long Beach, (CSULB) engineering students, Pushpender Singh and Manmeen Kaur, were among 25 teams that qualified for the finals of the Go Green in the City international competition in Paris earlier this year.
“It’s great opportunity for us to present our idea to a company who is working towards making this planet green. We are going to Paris for the final round of the competition. There are 25 teams each with two members selected from eight different countries,” said Singh before the trip. “We presented our idea on how we can use the freeway traffic to produce electrical energy. The motivation for such an idea came from Professor Walter Martinez who is always guiding us to use our knowledge for a better future. I am sure this article will motivate several others to think of better solutions to make the planet and its resources last longer than current expectations.”
Last spring semester, Martinez, a part-time lecturer in the CSULB Engineering Technology Department, showed a video clip of some new energy harvesting chips. The chips are basically silicon batteries that get energy from various modalities such as heat, vibration, sun and even radio frequencies.
During the class Martinez talked about an idea for using these chips and placing them along the freeways to capture all the heat, vibrations from the vehicles and solar cells plus all the radio frequency from cell phones, laptops, cars, etc. and store it in these energy harvesting chips then we could use these energy to power signs on the freeways, lights and billboards. The students developed that idea for their proposal.
“I want to mention that we came to know about Go Green in the City event through an e-mail sent out by the career development center at CSULB and ever since then we have been working on our idea. We are truly thankful to Professor Walter Martinez who guided us through all the stages of competition. We are grateful to the Dean (Forouzan) Golshani and College of Engineering. They motivated us to work hard and provided us with all the help we needed,” said Kaur. “We both are extremely excited to be part of the final competition in Paris as it’s a great opportunity for us to present our views about the going green to the executives from by Schneider Electric. Our idea is about utilization of high-speed traffic on freeways to generate electricity. I believe that this competition is a huge inspiration for the students to use their knowledge for the benefits of the planet and people. The company focuses on encouraging women in field of engineering and business, thus one of the team members had to be a woman.”
The students found an international competition and decided to enter using this idea. The competition is about finding new and innovative/clever ways to manage energy. The winning team in the competition will have their idea implemented by Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries. Martinez and other faculty helped the students prepare with a business plan and the presentation.
“Being selected for this competition is a great honor for these students and reflects the quality of students at Cal State Long Beach and in the College of Engineering. They were very proactive in seeking out this competition and have put a lot of work into preparing for the competition. I’m sure they will represent the university well,” said Martinez.