AUS students selected as finalist by Shell Ideas360 in innovation competition

Two students from Sharjah develop BioDesal as a new method of desalination.

The Shell360 finalists with the winning Indonesian team in the front row.
The Shell360 finalists with the winning Indonesian team in the front row.

Ninja MDC, a team of two students, Apoorva Goel and Gautam Sabhahit, from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) has come up with BioDesal, a process using bacteria and organic solvents to remove salt from seawater.

The team has been acknowledged as one of the most promising in innovation by Shell Ideas360, a competition that challenges students around the world to develop ideas to help meet the energy, water and food needs of a growing global population.  

“This opportunity has given us confidence in our own ability to come up with an idea and pursue it into development – our idea can help change the future and contribute to the environment. It’s definitely a big achievement and a unique one too”, said team member Apoorva Goel.

Five teams, including Ninja MDC, were selected as finalists from 1,110 submissions and pitched their ideas in front of a panel of esteemed judges at the Shell Ideas360 finale at Make the Future Live – a free, four-day festival of ideas and innovation at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

While Smart Car MCS of Indonesia won the Shell Ideas360 award at the Grand Finale, Ninja MDC was one of only five teams worldwide that were chosen as finalists for an idea the judges thought was truly innovative.

Gautam Sabhahit from team Ninja MDC said, “Taking part in Shell Ideas360 has given us a unique experience which we wouldn’t be able to get at university or an internship. We’ve had access to experts, professionals and had a designated mentor who was paramount to our success – providing clarity and support throughout the process. We are very happy to have taken part because we knew we would be working to create a better future.”

Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, said, “Meeting the future energy needs of global society will take much imagination and cooperation across generations. This new generation of innovators are rising to the challenge.”


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