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European students present innovative solutions for waste management and recycling Among them are six students from Constanța County

For the 12th consecutive year, the Sci-Tech Challenge program, organized by Junior Achievement and ExxonMobil, empowers young people to tackle the challenges of tomorrow by using their knowledge in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), creativity and entrepreneurial skills. The European Competition, organized online for the second time due to the Covid-19 restrictions, brought together the best 25 students from the five participating countries - Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania. They were mixed in five teams and given the challenge of managing waste from an outdoors music festival. In the United Kingdom alone, festivals produce 23,000+ tons of waste every year, an issue that organizers must address without compromising the attendees’ experience.

Romania was represented at the European stage of the Sci-Tech Challenge project by six students selected from the first three winning teams of the National Final:

 

  1. Matei Eugen Vlăduț, "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" National Military College Constanța;
  2. Vlădăreanu Iulia Cristiana, Theoretical High School "Nicolae Bălcescu" Medgidia;
  3. Muscoi Vlad Nicolae, “Nicolae Bălcescu” Theoretical High School, Medgidia;
  4. Stoica Ioana Cătălina, “Nicolae Bălcescu” Theoretical High School, Medgidia;
  5. Sandu Emil, Technological High School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, Constanța;
  6. Hurmuzache Vlad Alexandru, Technological High School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, Constanța.

 

The teams presented their innovative solutions to an international jury panel composed of Virginia Janssens, Managing Director at PlasticsEurope; Markus Liebhard, teacher at the Higher Technical Education Institute “Wolfsberg” in Austria; Mónica Pérez Lobo, Director for Sustainability and ESG at Toyota; and presided by Nikolaas Baeckelmans, VP of EU Affairs at ExxonMobil.

Team “GreenFest”, which included Vlad Alexandru Hurmuzache and Vlad Nicolae Muscoi as students from Romania, came up with the most innovative idea. Using entrepreneurship and a combination of STEM skills, they proposed a biofuel created via the hydrothermal liquefaction of food waste and cellulose-made utensils to power trucks needed to move the products from one place to the next. In addition, the trucks contain a meticulous design that supports the refrigeration of products during the day, while using biofuels to ensure the adequate cooling down during the nightly hours.

Increased focus on STEM-education is timelier than ever. The Covid-19 context has shown the importance of science and innovation in finding solutions to the most pressing global challenges, including health, climate, and energy. Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s DG for Environment stated that “the future is Green and it is the young, talented people of today who can make our Europe of tomorrow more resilient, inclusive and sustainable. Deep knowledge of data-intensive technologies and associated skills will be crucial in responding to environmental challenges; notably, climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution”.

Philippe Ducom, President ExxonMobil Europe, added that “STEM skills are critical to address societal challenges, such as plastic waste, through practical solutions such as increased recyclability, improvements in recovery, and innovative recycling technologies. ExxonMobil is committed to inspiring and preparing students to pursue STEM careers. This is why we need to empower young scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians; they will be the innovators of tomorrow”.

Salvatore Nigro, CEO JA Europe, also noted that “today’s Sci-Tech Challenge engaged youth across Europe to tackle the challenge of recycling in the context of a mass event, using their entrepreneurial creativity to serve a good cause. To reach the objectives of the European “Green Deal”, which aims at realizing a sustainable economy and making Europe a climate-neutral continent by 2050, our schools must equip the next generation with robust STEM and entrepreneurship skills to turn these challenges into opportunities.

About JA Romania

Junior Achievement Romania is a non-profit organization focused on implementing JA's entrepreneurial, economic, financial, career guidance, health and life skills education international programs. JA's programs are delivered to 40 countries in Europe and over 100 countries around the world. JA Romania reaches more than 250,000 students and 4,248 teachers in 1,831 Romanian public schools annually. The programs are developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the educational institutions and with the financial support of the business community.

Web: www.jaromania.org.

About ExxonMobil Romania

ExxonMobil was the first American oil and gas company to work in Romania, operating from 1903 to 1948 as Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey. We have been present in Romania’s upstream sector since November 2008, when we acquired an interest in the deepwater Neptun Deep block in the Black Sea, and have had an established downstream business since 1992.

Web: https://corporate.exxonmobil.com/locations/romania

About the Sci-Tech Challenge

The Sci-Tech Challenge is designed to motivate students, aged 15-18, to consider science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-oriented careers, and to raise their awareness of the importance of their STEM skills and how they can be applied in enterprising ways to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

For more information please contact:

Dorin Călin

Senior Program Manager, JA România

Tel.: 0730 330 883

E-mail: dorin.calin(@)jaromania.org

 

Lavinia Dinu

Communication Specialist, ExxonMobil Romania

Tel.: +40 730 018 214

E-mail: lavinia.dinu(@)exxonmobil.com

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