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3 May 2011 | PR 11/48

Loughborough University students win BP Ultimate Field Trip 2011



A team of students from Loughborough University 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. 


For media enquiries contact:

Liam Clark
T: 020 7307 5345
E: liam.clark@capitalmsl.com

Hannah Baldwin
Head of PR
Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1.  Students considering entering next year’s competition should visit www.bp.com/fieldtrip  and join the Facebook group: http://tinyurl.com/3pxsfbw

2.  Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Wednesday September 21, 2011 10:46