For 70 years ATCO has developed innovative solutions to solve complex energy and infrastructure needs for our customers around the world. Recently, our Research & Innovation team from the Pipelines & Liquids Global Business Unit took part in MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Solve competition at the United Nations in New York City. The team pitched a solution that would help businesses reduce carbon emissions and generate renewable energy for their operational needs. Our proposal was selected as one of the winners and we now join the ranks of official Solvers!
What is Solve?
The Solve competition brings together extraordinary people to examine and address challenges where technology, business innovation, and smart policy can be combined to bring about real and lasting solutions to some of the biggest issues facing the world. This year's Solve challenges focused on: carbon contributions, refugee education and chronic diseases.
Our team’s carbon contribution solution, proposes using a fuel cell to convert renewable energy (such as solar or wind), carbon dioxide and water into syngas that can be converted to natural gas and stored in ATCO's salt caverns. When the electricity demand cannot be met by a renewable source, the natural gas can be removed from storage and run through the fuel cell to produce carbon-neutral electricity.
Ed Cullinan, Senior Engineer, Research & Innovation, presented a three-minute pitch to a panel of expert judges (including MIT professors), followed by a five-minute Q&A, where he was joined by teammates, Greg Caldwell, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation and Andrew Evans, Engineer, Research & Development, to field questions from the judges.
As a Solver, the team is officially part of the Solve community and will head to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May to meet with other members, share their solutions, participate in workshops and work on ways to pilot and implement their solutions.
"Right now we're looking at refining our solution, determining who our target audiences would be and how to effectively market the idea. There's still a lot to be worked out, but getting together with the Solve community at MIT will be a great learning opportunity and a stepping stone in the right direction," says Ed.
"It was just really cool to be part of an event like this," says Andrew. "In addition to learning about other carbon contribution solutions, it was really interesting to see the solutions other groups came with in regards to solving global issues like refugee education and chronic diseases. Plus, we had the chance to connect with some brilliant minds and network with the other teams and judges, which was very valuable."
Check out ATCO's pitch from 9:20 – 15:56
We strive to create an imaginative work environment where employees take a creative approach to meeting our customers’ needs. Through the innovative thinking of our people and a commitment to research and development, we can offer our customers unique solutions that differentiate us from our competitors.
Congratulations to the team for their ground-braking solution and outstanding presentation in New York.