Calgary, May 26, Shell has announced the winner of the first edition of its global student competition, Shell Ideas360.

Al-Hurr Al-Dalli, Charles Gedeon and Sami Sayegh from Concordia University & McGill University in Canada took home the first prize for their idea, which focuses on adding value to local water scarcity.  The team’s idea uses large, corrugated sails with a hydrophobic coat to collect and condense humidity from the air.

Following a competitive pitch between the five finalist teams in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on 14 May, Hugh Mitchell, Shell Chief HR & Corporate Officer, announced the winner during the Powering Progress Together forum in Rotterdam. The team will now embark on a once-in-a-lifetime National Geographic Expedition.

The winning idea

The four other finalists were from students of the Monash University in Australia, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in India, National University of Singapore and TU Delft & UT Twente from The Netherlands. During the final, the teams presented their idea to fellow students and a panel of judges.

By using large, corrugated sails with a hydrophobic coat, the winning team aim to collect and condense humidity from the air. The water can then be used for consumption.

The jury was impressed by the well-engineered solution, marking it as doable, credible and affordable. The surface design and composition of the sail was viewed as innovative as it includes ancient techniques used by Bedouins to create water in the drought of the desert. The idea can potentially have a significant impact on developing remote dry areas, where small amounts of water may even sustain minimal vegetation. After the audience vote, the Skywell team also took home the award for ‘best presentation’ as their idea was presented in a simple, clear, professional way.

Charles Gedeon, Skywell team member, said: “We’re speechless. We had tough competition and making it to the finals had already given us a sense of pride. Winning this competition is boosting our drive to further develop this idea. Now that Shell has expressed their interest in our idea, the expectations are high. We realise that we still need to do a lot of work to meet these expectations. We are looking forward to working with Shell to develop Skywell to its fullest potential.”

Gerald Schotman, Shell Chief Technology Officer & EVP Innovation and R&D, said: “All five ideas that made it to the final are truly innovative, feasible and have the potential to make a significant impact to the Energy, Water and Food challenges. The well-deserved winning idea illustrates how we as Shell need to continue to collaborate with students around the globe.

In the past months the Shell GameChanger Team has analyzed 97 ideas that went through to the second stage of the competition. Four ideas have caught the team’s interest and they will be invited to register for the Shell GameChanger programme. This and the overwhelming amount of ideas we received tell us this programme really works, both for Shell and students around the world. The second edition of Shell Ideas360 will start after this summer, offering students an opportunity to help make their idea become reality.”

Shell Ideas 360 began in September 2013. The competition challenges university students to conceive, share and collaboratively develop innovative ideas to help tackle Energy, Water and Food challenges around the world. 668 ideas, from 44 countries were submitted and reviewed.

Students can register for the second edition of Shell Ideas360 now at

About Shell Ideas360

Shell Ideas360 is a global competition, encouraging university students to conceive, share and collaboratively develop game-changing ideas to help tackle Energy, Water and Food challenges. Shell Ideas360 provides university students with an exciting opportunity to develop their ideas into a ‘potentially investment-worthy’ business case with the support of mentors and subject matter experts.

University students are able to demonstrate their potential, develop their skills and collaborate globally with like-minded innovators, gaining insights into the current and future challenges in the fields of Energy, Water and Food and how they are related.

The best ideas will be considered for funding by the Shell GameChanger programme, which was founded in 1996. To date, the programme has worked with over 1500 innovators and turned more than 100 ideas into reality – some with massive potential.

How the competition works

Shell Ideas360 involves three key stages.  In stage 1, participants share and submit their initial idea. The ideas are then evaluated by a team of experts and up to 100 ideas were then selected to go to stage two. Participants will then further develop their ideas with the help of Shell Mentors and Subject Matter Experts. In stage three, five teams or individuals are invited to Shell Eco-Marathon Europe in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to pitch their ideas to a Panel of Judges.

The Finalists

  • Australia (Monash University) – Smart Water. Ami Pasricha, Horace Josh and Kali Wong, have been working on a system that measures water use and associated costs, targeting areas with excessive water use. Small monitoring devices attached on water taps at home and linked to a mobile device enable consumers to keep track of their water use when away from home.
  • Canada (Concordia University & McGill University) – Harvesting Humidity Using Sky Wells. Al-Hurr Al-Dalli, Charles Gedeon and Sami Sayegh have been developing an idea to supplement local water supply by using large, corrugated sails with a hydrophobic coat to condense and collect humidity from the air.
  • India (University of Petroleum and Energy Studies) – Fire in Ice: Fuel for the Future. Krishna Chaturvedi and her team member Priya Sihag are looking at an innovative source of energy for the future through the injection of CO2 in hydrate reservoirs.
  • Singapore (National University Singapore) – Peak Load Shaving via Gamification. Samuel Chong, Shuyuan Ho and Varun Soni) decided to start developing a system that monitors power consumption patterns, provides feedback and incentivizes consumption during non-peak hours by gamification in order to reduce electricity peak loads in the morning and evening.
  • The Netherlands (University of Twente, Delft University of Technology) – UniPump. Dimas Priawan and his team member Januardy Djong have been working on developing an affordable irrigation pump for farmers to improve productivity, crop yield and income.

More in Media

Media Inquiries

If you are a member of the media, we welcome inquiries related to Shell Canada’s corporate activities. Click to access the submission form.


Here you can access a selection of speeches and articles by Shell Canada’s leaders.

You may also like