ChemE students place 2nd at the RBC Innovation Challenge

RBC Innovation Challenge
L-R: Alton Rego, Matthew McArthur, Kim Watada, Neha Basra, and Mary Daka.

On January 27, Alton Rego (ChemE 2T2+PEY) and Kim Watada (ChemE 2T2+PEY) along with their teammates Neha Basra (MIE), Mary Daka (CivMin), and Matthew McArthur (Architecture) placed 2nd at the RBC “Tech for a Greener Future” Innovation Challenge winning $25,000 in prize money and access to resources to further develop their concept “Nebula.”

Over the past three months, the team researched, designed, and prototyped their solution as part of the competition. Twenty-five teams consisting of undergraduate and graduate students submitted their designs and ideas. The top four teams were selected to present their design to a panel of industry experts and judges on January 27.

Problem being solved

Rural and remote communities across Canada are facing a water crisis. Inadequate funding and aging infrastructure make it difficult for residents in these communities to have reliable access to clean drinking water despite Canada having some of the largest freshwater reserves in the world. This is also a global issue – the World Health Organization estimates that over 2 billion people live in water-stressed communities worldwide, a figure expected to worsen due to climate change.

Details on Nebula

Nebula was created to help water-stressed communities source clean drinking water in a time of crisis. The design leverages a unique combination of proprietary active and passive atmospheric water harvesting technology to convert humidity in the air into potable water for domestic uses. It has been designed to be significantly cheaper than alternatives in the market today while being net-zero in emissions.