The Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto is thrilled to announce the remarkable achievement of two of its fourth-year students, Alton Rego and Kimberly Watada. Last Friday, Alton and Kimberly traveled to London to compete in the finale of Imperial College London’s prestigious Climate Investment Challenge, an international competition aimed at finding innovative solutions to combat climate change.
Out of over 120 teams representing 22+ countries, the pair and teammate Matthew Vucic emerged victorious in the Emerging Markets competition. Their groundbreaking proposal, titled Saving Savannahs, impressed the judges and showcased their ingenuity and commitment to addressing a huge environmental issue.
Savannahs, known for their vulnerability to wildfires, contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions each year. The winning pitch focused on implementing an ambitious loan incentive program to reduce savannah wildfire emissions in Africa through Early Dry Season (EDS) fire management and improved satellite data collection. By bridging the gap between international financing and the adoption of this proven climate solution, their program aims to overcome challenges such as Africa’s developing carbon markets, high project risk, and limited data for offset calculations.
“We are incredibly proud of Alton and Kimberly for their outstanding achievement in the Climate Investment Challenge,” said Professor Ramin Farnood, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry. “Their innovative proposal not only addresses a critical environmental issue but also demonstrates the potential of collaboration between engineering and international affairs. This win is a testament to their hard work, creativity, and dedication.”
The pair expressed their gratitude to the organizing team of the Climate Investment Challenge for hosting a fantastic event and providing a platform to showcase their ideas. They also extended their thanks to the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto and the Balsillie School of International Affairs for their unwavering support throughout the competition.
In addition to congratulating Alton and Kimberly, ChemE recognizes the exceptional efforts of all the finalists who presented inspiring ideas during the Climate Investment Challenge. The competition highlighted the global scope of solutions required to successfully finance a green transition and underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing climate change.
The Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto remains committed to fostering innovation, driving sustainability, and equipping its students with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle complex global challenges. The success of Alton Rego and Kimberly Watada in the Climate Investment Challenge reflects the department’s dedication to excellence and the impactful research conducted by its community members.