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Giving wings to green ideas

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A team of students from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have claimed the top prize of £30,000 as winners of Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013. Team Levar won with their proposal for a luggage loading and unloading system for airplane cargo compartments to reduce the workload of airport baggage handlers with an air cushion solution inspired by air hockey tables. Supported by UNESCO, Airbus Fly Your Ideas is a biennial competition which challenges students worldwide to develop ideas for a more sustainable aviation industry.

The winning team is comprised of Marcos Philipson, Leonardo Akamatsu, Adriano Furtado and Caio Reis, all studying design at the University of Sao Paulo, and Henrique Corazza studying at Loughborough University in the UK.

The runner-up prize of £15,000 went to Team CLiMA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, for their proposal to develop aircraft fuelled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas (Bio-LNG).

This third edition of the competition saw over 600 teams from around the world submit a proposal responding to one of six challenges set out by Airbus for aviation in the 21st century. Over 60 Airbus assessors evaluated the submissions for quality, environmental benefits, and for the level of innovation demonstrated by the team.

Charles Champion, Airbus executive VP – engineering, says, “Team Levar’s response to the competition has been fantastic, with a truly innovative proposal for an air cushion solution inspired by hockey tables. They have taken a really broad view of how to improve the aviation industry as a whole, not limiting their ideas to aircraft alone but also considering ground operations and they are deserving winners. According to the students, passengers could collect their luggage 30 per cent faster, start their holidays sooner, and luggage handlers would be put under less physical strain. This kind of idea is fundamental in ensuring the aviation industry continues to drive forward to a more sustainable future.”

Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, says “The diversity of these students’ ideas is a huge source of inspiration. Their talent also serves to remind us of the urgent need to train more engineers, to develop the skills and competences needed to translate ideas into reality and put science into practice. This is UNESCO’s ambition and one of the objectives of this partnership with Airbus is to inspire more innovative ideas for our future, in sustainable transportation and even further.”

In addition to the prize money, the students now look forward to welcoming experts from Airbus’ innovation cell onto their campus for a week of workshops and training later this year.

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