Repsol Foundation awards prizes to the winners of its University Challenge

Fundación Repsol otorga los premios a los ganadores de su Challenge Universitario


The Repsol Foundation brought together close to one hundred university students in the Grand Final of its University Challenge at a ceremony held in Madrid last Saturday, March 9, where the different teams had to present their proposals which respond to different energy transition challenges.

The finalists worked on their projects and presented them before a jury of Repsol professionals and experts, who were impressed with the high level of proposals received.

The jury selected the five best projects in each category:

  • Sustainable and decarbonized cities
  • Sustainable and decarbonized mobility
  • Circular economy as a driver for decarbonization
  • Sustainable and decarbonized industry
  • Energy transition and society

93 students organized into 25 teams took part in the Grand Final, from 29 public and private universities in 12 Autonomous Communities: 31% from Madrid universities, 13% from universities in Aragon, 10% from the Valencian Community, 9% from universities the communities of Galicia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country respectively; and 8% from Castilla-La Mancha.

The winners of each of the challenges were:

Sustainable and decarbonized cities: The winning team was EcoFuturo, made up of Vianny Castellanos Trujillo, Noelia Cruz Araya, and Gabriela Cevallos, students from the Universidad de Alicante, with the project “Urban gardeners powered by a mini waste treatment plant". The proposal focuses on installing urban pots to plant gardens that have an integrated mini organic waste treatment plant from the HORECA sector, recovering the waste in three ways: compost to fertilize and fill the pots, making the most of the methane gas produced by treating the waste and the leachates, and its conversion into water for drip irrigation of the pot.

Sustainable and decarbonized mobility: The team that received the award was Wave Energy, made up of Mar Fontané Cugat, Dídac Badía Porras, Pau Costa Ribalta, Ainoa Vigo Malvido, and Júlia Tallada Serret, students from Universidad Rovira i Virgili, with the project “Wave energy for the decarbonization of maritime transport”. The project aims to decarbonize maritime transport by capturing wave energy, and thus ensuring that ships can use the electrical energy generated. All this comes from the use of lateral buoys, which capture the energy generated by waves. Furthermore, the creation of charging points in different ports is being considered to expand the reach of this solution across the entire sector.

Circular economy as a driver for decarbonization: The winning team was EcoIngenieros, made up of David Redondo Martín, Inés Muruzábal Pino, and Ana del Casar Bruzón, students from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, with the project “Recycling of wind farms”. This project specializes in the sustainable recycling of wind turbines at the end of their useful life, offering a comprehensive approach that reduces emissions and promotes the circular economy. The proposed business model focuses on establishing a comprehensive recycling system for wind turbines, offering a complete approach ranging from the disassembly and collection of the wind turbines to the advanced processing of the materials, paying special attention to the blades, resins, metals, and other key components.

Sustainable and decarbonized industry: The winning team was Carbon Fighters, made up of Cristian Barón Vidán, Javier Sáez de Guinoa Sentre, Jorge Legaz Ruiz, Alexander García Mariacaz, and Inés Senante Llombart, students from the Universidad de Zaragoza, with the project “Decarbonization of the steel industry through biomass and power-to-gas”. The objective of the project is to assess the energetic and technical feasibility of integrating different possibilities to reduce the CO2 emissions in steel blast furnaces, which could see around a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions and avoid the need to store it geologically, considering different possibilities.

Transición energética y sociedad: El equipo que ha recibido el premio ha sido Los Amigos formado por Adrián Almoyna Piquer, Gerardo Artal Pardinilla, Daniel Baya Madrid y Gerardo Cambra, estudiantes de la Universidad de Zaragoza, con el proyecto “Marloquinas: marquesinas inteligentes en la España rural”. La propuesta propone implementar en los pueblos de la España rural unas marquesinas de autobús que contengan todas las funciones que ofrece una estación de autobuses (venta de billetes, información del viaje, tiempo estimado de llegada, etc.) y que su consumo de energía se gestione a través de placas solares. Además, dispondría de unas taquillas o lockers en las cuales los residentes podrán recibir o enviar sus paquetes que serán transportados por los autobuses interurbanos, siendo los propios autobuses encargados del reparto de estos paquetes y optimizando el servicio.

The winning teams will receive €12,000 each and the possibility of joining an array of different young talent programs offered by Repsol.

At the opening of the University Challenge awards ceremony, Antonio Brufau, Repsol chairman, congratulated the initiative and highlighted the need to incorporate all young university talent in the key challenges of the energy transition.

The Repsol chairman reflected on the 5 challenges developed in this Challenge (sustainable and decarbonized cities, sustainable and decarbonized mobility, circular economy, decarbonized industry, and energy transition and society. Specifically, Antonio Brufau reiterated the need and enormous opportunity to put all the available, competitive, and scalable technologies at the service of the proposed goals. Most notably, said the Repsol chairman, it is important to understand, with knowledge and scientific rigor, the technologies and solutions we have and at what cost, taking into account the need to protect our economy, industry, and employment.

Sara García Alonso, a molecular biologist and the first Spanish female astronaut candidate selected by the European Space Agency, also spoke at the event, encouraging the finalists not to question the challenges, dare to face the challenges in their way, since that value will help them face them, progress in their professional career, and thus be able to achieve their goals. Sara finished by telling them that “ever since I was little I wanted to dedicate myself to something that would help make the world a better place.”

Carmen Muñoz, executive managing director of People and Organization at Repsol, pointed out that Repsol has been working for some time now to meet all of society's present and future energy needs, leveraged on a long history of success in the energy field. Furthermore, she invited young people to continue developing in multi-energy, which currently offers multiple and innovative projects, in a diverse, challenging, and international work environment.