Egyptian Team Wins the Regional Finals of Schneider Electric’s Go Green Competition 2020

competition

An Egyptian team of two undergraduate students: Habiba Abdelwahed, construction engineering senior at AUC who is minoring in business, and Abdallah Mohamed from the German University in Cairo, recently won the regional finals of Schneider Electric’s Go Green Competition. Competing against 5,367 participating members across the Middle East and Africa, team “Plastale” took the lead.

Now in its 10th edition, Go Green is a competition encouraging students worldwide to submit their innovative and bold ideas in four areas: sustainability and access to energy, buildings of the future, plants of the future, and grids of the future. The competition aims to build a smarter and more sustainable future around the globe. While the Plastale team selected the buildings of the future track, their insightful idea caters to more than one track.

On the experience, Abdelwahed found it simply “remarkable,” especially with the surrounding circumstances. 

“Once we got admitted to the second phase, the pandemic went viral and nation lockdowns and restrictions came into effect. It was very challenging, but regardless, we continued to work with our mentor to develop our idea even further and managed to stay connected throughout the competition.” she said. “Taking part in this globally renowned competition was truly a valuable experience that paved the way for me to help change the economy through adopting sustainable behavior and solutions.”

Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), the team proposed building natural composite fiber, recycled plastic and agricultural waste PET cladding sheets and roof tiles with embedded solar cells to enable and contribute to affordable green housing. Through these recyclable sheets that have very low carbon dioxide emissions, greener and more sustainable buildings become effortlessly feasible in the affordable housing sector.

Throughout the brainstorming process, Abdelwahed and Mohamed were keen on not only assembling a green product but also ensuring that the manufacturing process itself would be sustainable and energy-efficient with as minimal a carbon footprint as possible. In that regard, they were able to fulfill six SGDS.

Ultimately, Abdelwahed found the awareness of the younger participating teams, in particular, inspirational, stressing that their ideas and solutions toward a sustainable future were genuinely impactful.

“This young, conscious, and passionate generation can combat global sustainability and environmental issues and create the sustainable world we all envision by putting sustainable development into action through social entrepreneurship,” she emphasized.

Next, they presented their idea to a panel of sustainability experts from Schneider Electric, who commended the degree of innovation involved in working out a solution for the issue of affordable green housing for everyone, the creativity and originality of considering the use of recycled materials, and the feasibility of bringing the idea to life. Correspondingly, team Plastale was selected to represent the Middle East and Africa in the global finals to digitally compete with eight teams from around the world.

“The future is sustainability, and it’s Egyptian,” said Walid Sheta, cluster president for North-East Africa and Levant, Schneider Electric. “The judges were blown away by Abdallah and Habiba’s idea, and how they brought this idea to life. They’re an example of how Egypt is going to lead in the green technology space. And we are delighted to be helping them and others have amazing careers in the technology and sustainability space.”

"The Career Center is always on the lookout for student challenges and competitions as part of the office's experiential learning services," said Farah Asfour, work study officer, AUC Career Center. "Schneider Go Green 2020 was one of those opportunities announced and promoted by the Career Center to encourage students to take part in such exciting and beneficial experiences."