Students from the University of Zaragoza, winners of the Fundación Repsol University Challenge

The five students, members of the I3A's Energy and CO2 research group, awarded €12,000 and Repsol grants for their innovative proposal to decarbonise the steel industry through biomass and power-to-gas.
Foto estudiantes

Five students from the University of Zaragoza have won this year's Fundación Repsol University Challenge. The team, made up of Cristian Barón, Alexander García Mariaca, Javier Sáez de Guinoa, Inés Senante and Jorge Legaz, is part of the Energy and CO2 (ECO2) group of the Aragon Institute for Engineering Research (I3A).

Cristian and Javier are PhD students on the Mechanical Engineering programme; Alexander is a PhD student on the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency programme; Inés is studying for a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering, and Jorge is a 3rd year student on the Mechanical Engineering degree.

The Fundación Repsol University Challenge is a national competition where university students propose solutions to the different challenges posed by the energy transition and decarbonisation. This year the categories in which they competed were: sustainable and decarbonised cities; sustainable and decarbonised mobility; circular economy as a lever for decarbonisation; sustainable and decarbonised industry; and energy transition and society.

Young researchers from the Energy and CO2 research group, students from the University of Zaragoza, competed in Challenge 4 "Sustainable and decarbonised industry", with a proposal on the decarbonisation of the steel industry through the use of biomass and power-to-gas. A project that integrates cutting-edge technologies such as oxy-combustion and methanisation into the steel production process. This integration would lead to a 40% reduction in the current CO2 emissions derived from the production of this precious raw material, while at the same time providing another use for second-generation forestry waste , reducing coal consumption and boosting the development of rural areas with biomass availability.

More than 1,700 students from 83 different universities took part in this University Challenge, which was held in Madrid at the beginning of March. After a first pre-selection phase by a committee of professionals and experts from Repsol and the academic and business world, just under 100 students reached the on-site final, where a total of 25 teams (5 per category) competed during 2 intense days to defend their proposal before the public and the jury.

The jury, headed by Adriana Orejas (director of Repsol's Department of Technology and Industrial Transformation), highlighted the high technological level of the project and the previous work of the group members. Thus, the jury's decision was unanimous, awarding the young people from the University of Zaragoza the first place, whose prize consists of a monetary amount of 12,000 euros, as well as the possibility of joining Repsol's young talent programmes and the possibility of opting for their training scholarships.

Photo: Challenge Universitario – Fundación Repsol

Photo: En el Campus Río Ebro, en la Escuela de Ingeniería y Arquitectura (EINA)entrega premio

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