Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development Names Most Innovative
Ideas for a Sustainable Future
Hundreds of Students Answered the Call for the Next Revolutionary
Idea in Sustainability; Rice University Team Claims First Place
HOUSTON, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 10/17/12 -- Last night, the Odebrecht
Award for Sustainable Development announced Rice University students
Joanna Luo, Wejia Song, and Alexander Yune have clinched the top
prize recognizing the most innovative sustainable idea in the U.S.
With advising professor Neeraj Bhatia, their winning concept presents
a bold solution for oil seekers venturing further and further out to
sea to tap dwindling reserves.
Sparked by a Petrobras report outlining the challenges to safely
access critically-needed offshore oil reserves, "Addressing the
Logistical Crisis of Offshore Oil Extraction: A New Model of
Water-Based Urbanism in the Pre-Salt Region off the Southeast Coast
of Brazil" details the creation of a 600 kilometer-long chain of
man-made islands which could sustain a population of 50,000. The
population can raise crops, build schools, and drill oil -- seeding
the growth of a community and making drilling for oil more
environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable.
The top prize grants $40,000 in cash, of which the students receive
$20,000. $10,000 goes to their advising professor and $10,000 to
their university. In addition, the students receive admission to the
process to become an Odebrecht Young Partner or Braskem Associate,
trainee programs with the global leaders -- highly competitive
programs sought by students from across the globe.
422 students registered to compete for the prestigious award,
representing 40 nationalities and 173 universities across the United
States. Currently, the award is also presented in seven other
The winners were unveiled at an Oct. 16, 2012 award ceremony at the
Fine Arts Museum in Houston, where Nicholas Negroponte, founder of
One Laptop per Child, gave the keynote speech calling for measuring
curiosity, imagination, passion, creativity, and the ability to see
things from multiple points of view. Mayor Annise Parker also
addressed the audience, highlighting that Houston too thrives on
dreams, from building a port -- even though the city is miles away
from the ocean, to sending men to the moon. In line with its
organizational dedication to sustainability, Odebrecht committed to
making the award ceremony carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets
for all the guests' travel arrangements.
"While we were thrilled to see so many young innovators answer the
call for the next big idea in sustainability, and certainly expected
to see some remarkable concepts, but the winners and finalists of the
2012 United States Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development
stunned us with unique, promising visions," said Fernando Musa, CEO
of Braskem America.
"These award entries are snapshots of what the future could look like
if we handed the reins to these emerging leaders. I have no doubt
that we will continue to see great things from these students," said
Gilberto Neves, president and CEO of Odebrecht USA.
The projects were judged by a panel of experts in fields ranging from
construction to chemistry, and engineering to sustainability. The
criteria included technical contribution, reasoning and depth,
real-world applicability, and adherence to Odebrecht's multifaceted
view of sustainability as a synergy of economic development, social
development, environmental balance, political participation, and
A team from Johns Hopkins University took second place; Jay Hyug
Choi, Sangkyun Cho, and Victor Hyun submitted "Pegasus (Paper for
Education, Growth, and Sustainability)" with advising professor Erica
Schoenberger. For their concept of a small-scale papermaking machine
for students in third-world countries, the team won $7,000, as well
as $4,000 for their professor and $4,000 to the university.
Third place went to North Carolina State University students Monica
Golike, Richard Figueroa, and Nicole Santos, who submitted
"Recyclability of Oil Contaminated Cardboard" with advising professor
Melissa Pasquinelli. Their paper exploring new ways to recycle the
1.2 billion pizza boxes used in the U.S. each year won the students
$5,000, with $2,500 going to the professor and $2,500 going to the
university. All may enter the process to become Odebrecht Young
Partners or Braskem Associates; several students have already
Florida International University representatives Susan Jay and Andres
Tremante were also present to receive a special recognition, as three
separate groups submitted entries that ranked on 4th, 5th, and 6th
Plans are already in place for the 2013 Odebrecht Award for
Sustainable Development. To learn more about the award program, visit
About the Odebrecht Organization
Founded in 1944, Odebrecht is a
Brazilian multinational that operates in the engineering and
construction, petrochemical, energy, bioenergy, oil and gas, real
estate, and environmental engineering sectors. Present in 20
countries, it has more than 170,000 employees and $37.8 billion in
revenues in 2011.
Founded over six decades ago, Odebrecht has grown to
be a global leader in engineering and construction services, laying
the groundwork for positive, sustainable change on five continents.
Today, the Odebrecht Organization is a worldwide leader in providing
engineering & construction, petrochemical and bio-energy services. As
part of the Odebrecht Organization, Odebrecht USA opened its Coral
Gables, Florida, office in 1990, and since then it has successfully
delivered projects throughout the United States. Odebrecht has a
particular emphasis on public-sector infrastructure projects of vital
Braskem is the largest manufacturer of thermoplastic
resins in the Americas. With 31 industrial plants in Brazil and the
United States, the company produces more than 33 billion pounds of
thermoplastic resins and other petrochemical products annually.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Braskem America, a wholly owned
subsidiary of Braskem S.A., has three production facilities located
in Texas, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as its Technology
and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh.
*All cash prizes currently listed before taxation in accordance with
state and federal law.
Documents and/or Photos available for this release:
Odebrecht Award trophies
To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to
www.enr-corp.com/pressroom and enter Release ID: 340014
Phone: (305) 341-8800
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