SOURCE: Odebrecht USA

Odebrecht USA

September 25, 2014 17:15 ET

Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development Announces 2014 Winners From Texas A&M University

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwired - September 25, 2014) - A team of students from Texas A&M University has won the 2014 Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development. The winners were unveiled on September 23, 2014 at an award ceremony at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The top award received $40,000, second place was awarded $15,000, and third place was awarded $10,000. All winnings will be split among the students, advising professor, and the school. Also, all finalists received a piece of sustainability of their own: a trophy produced with Braskem's green plastic, which is made from sugarcane and 100% recyclable.

Texas A&M students Victoria Ehlinger, Samarpita Roy, Jeremy Seidel, and advising Professor Mark Holtzapple, submitted a project that introduces a process that uses 67% of municipal solid waste from landfills to profitably produce gasoline and recycled metals. The project titled "Production of Gasoline from Municipal Solid Waste by Carboxylate Fermentation," illustrates a four step process that reduces landfill space, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs, and helps meet increasing demand for liquid transportation fuels using the organic component of water stream, which is typically discarded by recycling companies. 

Second place was awarded to Florida International University students Sami Awad Azrak, James Caraballo, Yonatan Rotenberg, and advising Professor Bilal El-Zahab with "Sprayable Solar Panel as Sustainable Low Cost and Disaster Relief Energy Source." Their submission introduced a sprayable design for dye-sensitized solar cells that can be applied on site to existing transparent surfaces and is viable and replicable on a broad scale. This new form of dye-sensitized solar cells is more compact, lightweight, and contains no fragile materials making shipments to remote places more affordable.

Third place was awarded to Rice University students Brian Barr, Max Hasbrouck, Kivani Sanchez, and advising Professor Matthew Wettergreen. Their submission, "A GPS-Enabled Three-Bike Rack to Connect Communities in the Developed and Developing World," outlines a plan to increase bus-bike ridership by improving the capacity and transparency of bus-bike rack usage with a GPS-based, collapsible three-bike rack. The collapsible three-bike rack, increases the number of buses on which three bikes can be transported at the same time without impeding the driver's operation. Also, it will have a bike sensor that increases the information available to commuters, allowing them to better plan out and orchestrate their use of public transit systems.

A number of teams from multiple U.S. colleges and universities competed for top honors in the nationwide search for innovative technologies and methods to promote sustainable and responsible development.

Finalists were selected by two groups of judges comprised of Odebrecht USA and Braskem America professionals and an external committee consisting of eight experts from several sustainability fields. Projects were judged on their practicality, applicability, technical aspects, content, reasoning, clarity and presentation.

The ceremony's keynote speaker was Andrew Winston, the founder of Winston Eco-Strategies. He is also the author of The Big Pivot, Green Recovery, and co-author of Green to Gold. Winton's remarks were valuable insights on how business can profit by tackling the world's largest challenges.

Also speaking at the ceremony, was the Honorable Congressman Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania. The recurring theme for the evening was innovation shaping the trends of the future towards more sustainable and responsible development.

This was the third edition of the Odebrecht Award in the United States, open to all public and private colleges and universities. Florida International University and Rice University have participated and been winners in previous editions of the competition.

For more information about the program, past winners and their ideas, please visit

About Odebrecht
Founded in 1944, Odebrecht is a company of Brazilian origin with a global presence. Odebrecht is Latin America's leader in engineering and construction, chemicals and petrochemicals, and also operates in the areas of water utilities, bioenergy, defense, real estate, properties, oil & gas, shipbuilding, and transportation and logistics. Operating in 23 countries, Odebrecht has more than 190,000 team members of 70 different nationalities and exports products and services to more than 70 countries worldwide. Our engineering and construction division has 70 years of experience and more than 35 years of international presence. Over the past 24 years, Odebrecht USA has built a portfolio of more than 60 projects worth more than $6.4 billion, delivering vital infrastructure projects for federal, state and local governments, as well as important private developers in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, California, North Carolina, and South Carolina. For more about Odebrecht, please visit

About Braskem
Braskem is the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas and the world's leading biopolymers producer, manufacturing green polyethylene from sugarcane-based ethanol. With 36 industrial plants in Brazil, the United States and Germany, the company produces over 35 billion pounds of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemicals per year, creating more environmental-friendly, intelligent and sustainable solutions through chemicals and plastics that improve people's lives.

Braskem is a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets, the Carbon Efficient Index (ICo2) and the Corporate Sustainability Index of the BM&FBovespa - Securities, Commodities and Futures Exchange. Braskem is a member of the United Nations' platform for more sustainable industries and its sustainability annual report is rated level A+. Fast Company ranks Braskem among its world's top 50 most innovative companies for using renewable sources to take the oil out of plastic.

Braskem America is the leading producer of polypropylene in the United States, with five production plants located in Texas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and a Technology and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Braskem America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Braskem S.A. For more information, visit

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