Massey University engineering students have won the 2012 Engineers Without Borders New Zealand University Challenge.
The team from the university’s Albany campus will represent New Zealand at the Australian Challenge finals in Melbourne in December.
The challenge, developed and co-ordinated by Engineers Without Borders Australia, is a trans-Tasman design competition for first-year university students.
This year’s challenge was in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam. Students had to develop innovative solutions for sustainable development of the An Minh district, in one of the poorest regions, on the Mekong Delta at the southern tip of Vietnam.
Daniel Burgess, Mike Horrell, Jaafar Alnasser and John Sibal, from the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology in Albany, created the ‘Anytime’ Cooking Solution. It uses two separate stoves made from locally-sourced components so people can cook using solar power for the sunny part of the year, and then switch to a fuel-efficient rocket stove that burns twigs and sticks for use during the rainy season.
Horrell said: “We set ourselves sustainable project outcomes that we wanted to achieve, including reducing the use of wood by half, and reducing smoke inhalation while cooking. It had to be affordable, mobile, and robust, and we wanted to help foster a change away from fossil fuel dependence.”
The team looked at the different cooking methods currently used in Vietnam to see if they could be improved upon. Inhabitants of An Minh use either electricity, Liquid Petroleum Gas, charcoal, or open fire stoves to cook their food, which can be messy and potentially dangerous.