André Fabião, Afonso Gusmão, Diogo Oliveira, Mechanical Engineering MSc students, Gonçalo Teixeira, Engineering Physics MSc student and Luísa Nogueira, Electrical and Computer Engineering MSc student developed the project that won Oeiras Valley Award – 2nd place. “We are very proud, not only because this award recognises and validates the quality of our project, but also because it makes our product public”, says Luísa Nogueira. “On the other hand, it motivates us to keep developing this project”, she adds.
The Wavean project focuses on the digitalisation of urban waste management in cities and intends to use technology to improve this sector, which, according to Luísa Nogueira, “presents a very unsatisfactory performance”. According to the student, bringing innovation to these processes “is an urgent need, not only because it will allow enormous savings in economic resources, but also because it has environmental advantages”. “In particular, we refer to an improvement of waste management efficiciency, as well as to a reduced fuel use and CO2 emissions”, she explains.
In order to better understand the waste collection inefficiency problem, the team met with several Municipalities. “We became aware of the complexity of waste management after these meetings. One of the main flaws is the inadequate response to the real needs”, shares Luísa Nogueira. “We have to obtain real data in order to have a more efficient waste management. The bigger an urban area is, the greater the need for updated data”, says the student.
The technological solutions currently available on the market are based on “devices placed in all waste collection containers, which in large cities becomes economically unaffordable”, explains the Técnico student. The Wavean project brings an innovative solution to this problem, proposing that the data collection is done directly on the garbage truck, which will automatically reduce costs.
According to Luísa Nogueira, “this was an opportunity to put our knowledge into practice in solving a complex problem”. “On the other hand, it allowed us to make our idea public and obtain funds for the development of the product”, she adds.
According to the team members, the Wavean project stood out because “it aims to solve an urgent and common problem in several cities. As any multidisciplinary team, we are able to face the multiple technological challenges that the issue imposes”, says Luísa Nogueira.
Professor António Alves de Campos was the mentor of the whole project and Luísa Nogueira highlights the importance of his support: “it was a valuable asset, namely to the startup idea”. The Oeiras Valley Award also recognises the professor who supervises the winning project. A €3,000 award is given to the winning project and a €2,000 award is given to the supervisor. “However, as professor António Alves de Campos is part of the team, we decided that the total amount wil be invested in the development of the project”, says Luísa Nogueira.
The creation of a startup will be the next step. “On the one hand, we want to start the construction of the prototype of the IoT sensor to be placed at the rear of the garbage trucks, which will allow us to measure in real time the amount of garbage collected. On the other hand, and at the same time, we intend to establish partnerships with municipal entities”, says the Técnico student.
Another project developed by Técnico students – DETU: Automatic system in any heavy passenger vehicle in order to facilitate the mobility of older people ranked among the 10 finalists. The project developed by Industrial Engineering and Management students received an honourable mention and passed to the 2nd phase of the competition, which allows the team to join a mentoring programme provided by Oeiras Valley companies.