Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Chemical Engineering

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Thando Sibanda, Adeleye Adewole and Peter Oladimeji at the award ceremony

Chemical Engineering students win BP Ultimate Field Trip 2011

May 11

A team of students from the Department is set to gain a real-life taste of working in the oil and gas industry, after winning the 2011 BP Ultimate Field Trip. The trio of Chemical Engineering undergraduates, known collectively as ‘Rigid Ideas’, wowed the competition judges, as well as the event host, Professor Brian Cox, with their forward thinking and innovative hydrogen production-based technology that answered a tough challenge set by BP.

The BP Ultimate Field Trip is a team competition open to UK university undergraduates studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. This year it challenged students to answer the question: “What innovative, scientific ideas can you come up with to maintain the UK Continental Shelf as a global centre of marine technology and engineering excellence by extending the useful life of North Sea oil and gas infrastructure – and, potentially, the oil and gas fields – as their economically productive activity comes to an end?”

The winning Loughborough trio – Thando Sibanda, Adeleye Adewole and Peter Oladimeji – utilised the temperature gradient between sea water and geothermal fluids in depleting oil wells to generate electricity. Using water and the electricity generated, they argued that they are able to commercially produce hydrogen which is a clean and sustainable energy carrier.

Team member Peter Oladimeji said: “We were overwhelmed when we were announced as the 2011 BP Ultimate Field Trip winners. The feelings and emotions we went through are simply indescribable.”

Thando Sibanda added that the team had found the experience invaluable and couldn’t wait for the internship to start. “We are now looking forward to the Ultimate Field Trip with BP which will involve spending some time offshore and working on real life business and engineering problems,” he said. “The friendly and informative BP atmosphere we experienced throughout the competition is something to look forward to.”

Event host Professor Brian Cox commented: “The Ultimate Field Trip goes a long way to proving how important students are in science and engineering. We all know that the demand for energy is increasing and resources are being depleted. The problems are very real – and they affect everyone in every part of the world. I want the UK to become a more scientific nation, and I’m excited by the investment these students have made in solving a real-world problem. I was also impressed by their commitment, and immense optimism about what they can achieve.”

Professor Chris Rielly, Head of Loughborough’s Department of Chemical Engineering, said he was delighted by the team’s success. “The designs generated by the winning team are very imaginative and have real potential for future exploitation. What is most impressive is that they came from second year students, who not only had the creativity and technical skills to design an innovative solution, but also had the passion and drive to communicate their ideas to a panel of international judges.”

The ‘Rigid Ideas’  trio will begin their paid internship with BP North Sea in July this year, when they will work on a real business challenge, experience life offshore, visit operations in Norway and enjoy the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 


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Department of Chemical Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

+44 (0)1509 222 533