$13,000 awarded for creative student solutions in energy and sustainability

April 24, 2014

The Wisconsin Energy Institute and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison hosted eight teams of students in the 2014 Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge.

The Coride team (pictured top), led by Fei Ma, a Ph.D. student in Geography, estimates that young Americans spend more than 2 billion hours per year on road trips. Historically, buses, trains or friends accommodate those trips, but the timing is often inconvenient or the cost is too high. Coride allows users to interact with a mobile-based interface and find ridesharing opportunities along a route, without being limited by starting point location.

The Mighty Meal(worm) team (pictured bottom), led by Nelson Institute Ph.D. student Valeria Stull and Epidemiology Ph.D. student Rachel Bergmans, seeks to provide location-based micro-livestock kits in food scarce rural and urban areas. In 2013, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 870 million people struggle with hunger worldwide. By farming mealworms and converting to a protein powder, the Mighty Meal(worm) team believes the insect meals can help fight food insecurity and malnutrition while requiring drastically fewer inputs than traditional livestock.

"All of the student teams did an excellent job. The judges were thoroughly impressed with the quality of the submissions this year,” said Scott Williams, research and education coordinator at the Wisconsin Energy Institute. “What seemed to set the winners apart was that they thought more holistically about how they could implement their ideas in a way that could make a large impact."

About the Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge: WESC is a student competition aimed at advancing creative ideas in energy and environmental sustainability. The challenge combines the Dvorak Energy Innovation Prize and Global Stewards Sustainability Prize. This year’s competition was held at the April 22 Nelson Earth Day Conference and supported by the Dvorak Family, the Global Stewards Society, BP, Madison Gas and Electric, and the David Marca Memorial Fund for Student Energy Projects. See a complete list of winners.

Tech-Savvy Ridesharing, Micro-Livestock Farming Take Top Honors at Energy and Sustainability Challenge