December 17, 2008

Winners of the 7th Alcoa Prize for Innovation in Aluminum give prominence to conserving the planet

A different way of managing recycling, an exhaust system made from recyclable aluminum that also produces electricity, a sustainable public shower and a pedal-driven portable boat were the winning projects in the 7th Alcoa Prize for Innovation in Aluminum. Of the hundreds of works enrolled this year 12 were selected for the final. The four winners were announced yesterday, December 16, in a prize-giving ceremony that took place in São Paulo. 

The winning idea in the category, Recycling Management (student modality) was CentrAL – partnership, relationship and recycling, by Nathalia Talarico Romero, Flávia Chiaramonti Cravo, Murilo Henrique Couto Gomes and Natália Polyana Dariva, Social Communication students from UEL (State University of Londrina, Parana). Nathalia and her colleagues pooled their experience as finalists last year and combined their will to develop a project that would bring innovation to the process of managing recycling cooperatives. They created the CentrAL project, with the aim of professionalizing workers in the area, adding value to the cooperative’s end product and promoting sustainable development. “We’re delighted to have won. We competed last year and didn’t have the same luck. With this victory we’re back on top” says Murilo Henrique Couto Gomes. 

Those who won the prize for best work in the Recycling Management category (professional modality) were project engineers from Itajubá (MG), Alexandre Ribeiro Cardoso, Diovani Reinaldo Gomes Ribeiro, Leandro Barsottini and Paulo Fonseca Junior, with their work Exautaluz – small aluminum cans producing electricity. According to the team, choice of the theme was influenced by the opportunity to create a multidisciplinary solution, while at the same time generating social worth. In this way it was possible to develop a project that encourages recycling and promotes environmental awareness. “This triumph was no coincidence. A lot of planning went into this work, as well as dedication and delivery. We must thank our families who were often unable to be with us so that we could conclude this work” reveals Paulo Fonseca Júnior. 

In the category, Products & Applications (student modality), the winner was the work, Duch Eco – in favor of the environment, by Evandro Gutierrez, André Boccato Payolla, Guilherme Caetano Silva and Reinaldo Martins dos Santos, from the mechanical engineering course of the Engineering School of Piracicaba (SP). Encouraged by professor Fernando de Lima Camargo, Evandro assembled his team. After brief research into the history of projects enrolled in the competition he perceived that the group had all they needed to enroll; after all the Prize demands, among other points, innovation and creativity, aspects that the group had in excess. “We are convinced that this recognition will provide us with opportunities in the labor market”, adds Evandro Gutierrez. 

The final winner of the night was Mateus Frois Santa Catarina, an aeronautical engineer from Rio de Janeiro (RJ), in the category, Products & Applications (professional modality), with his pedal-driven portable boat. Mateus had already developed this project but when he took part in the Alcoa Prize for Innovation in Aluminum he needed to adapt the work to use aluminum in a more extensive way. “This win is the result of a lot of hard work and research. Now I intend to look for partners to get this project off the ground” says Mateus.

“We’re honored with the results of this seventh edition. The works exceed our expectations because of their creativity and innovation. Many of these ideas will be able to contribute to sustainable development and improvements in the quality of life of people”, says Franklin Feder, president of Alcoa Latin America and the Caribbean.

Honorable mention and finalists
All the finalists and those indicated to receive honorable mention were at the event. The finalist in the category Recycling Management (student modality) was Product developed using off-cuts of aluminum from the automobile industry: rack,, by Mário André Leal dos Santos, Andressa Carraro and Silvia Trein Heimfarth Dapper, from the Design course of the Feevale University Center in Novo Hamburgo (RS).

Marcel Lara Tajiri, a mechanical engineering student from UNITAU (University of Taubaté, São Paulo), received an honorable mention in this same category and modality for his work, Use of aluminum cans in a hydroponic seed-bed. The student who was encouraged to participate in the Prize by his professor-tutor, Ederaldo Godoy Júnior, says that the idea was “to create a simple product that could be widely replicated and extensively used in Brazil – aluminum cans”. 

The finalist professionals in the category, Recycling Management were engineers from Itajubá (MG), Eduardo Miguel of Silva and Marcos André de Oliveira, with their project, Sustainability and professionalization in the recycling of aluminum.

From Santa Cruz do Capibaribe (PE), professor Fabiana Ferreira Silva and designer Washington Ferreira Silva received an honorable mention in the Recycling Management category (professional modality) with their work, Recreating aluminum in schools. The brother and sister decided to take part in the Prize in order to ally the experience as a designer of one with the management knowledge of the teacher. 

In the category, Products & Applications (student modality), the finalists were Lauro Sérgio Franco Júnior, a student on the design course at UNESP (Paulista State University) in Bauru (SP), with his Billiard table project. From the same university design students Maralise Lopes Silva, Fabiana Alves dos Santos, Juliano Peghini, Ligia de Freitas Françoso and Victor Leonardo de Souza Pereira presented their “’Aluns’ set: education, comfort and sustainability”. There was no honorable mention in this modality.

The professional finalists in Products & Applications were: Thiago de Aguiar Pessanha Gripp, an industrial designer from Rio de Janeiro (RJ), with his Revolving bunk-bed and professional colleagues from the same city, Rodrigo Marques Ribeiro Guimarães and Ricardo de Moraes with their project Compatto – favored service.

The Prize
Some of the criteria used for choosing the winners in the Products & Applications category were the degree of innovation of the proposal, the feasibility of developing the product and creativity. In the Recycling Management category the choice of the winners considered the relevance of the product or service, the degree of innovation and originality, the cost/benefit ratio (low investment vs. multiple benefits), its application potential and sustainability (impact on the environment and degree of contribution of the work to the problem or situation presented) and presentation.

All the students with projects in the finals in the two categories received R$ 1500. The same rule applies to the professionals who took part. The student tutors received a palm top and a diploma. 

The student or team, responsible for the best work in each category received R$ 9000 and a trophy, with a further R$ 5000 for the respective professor-tutor. For the teaching institution attended by the prize-winner there was R$ 5000 in teaching equipment. Professionals had the right to a prize worth R$ 11 000 in both categories.

“All the works that reached the final are naturally winners. They reflect the efforts, dedication, creativity and the search for solutions and sustainable alternatives that can contribute to a better future”, emphasizes Feder.

Students from almost every State in Brazil, from courses in Design, Social Communication, Business Administration, Architecture and Urbanism, Engineering, Economics, Physiotherapy, Fashion and others from many teaching institutions enrolled for the Prize this year. Their idea was to produce work from the countless opportunities offered by aluminum as well as to contribute to the sustainable development of the aluminum production chain. Most of the professionals who enrolled were either architects, designers, administrators or engineers. 

The Alcoa Prize for Innovation in Aluminum is a scientific and cultural competition, the objective of which is to encourage and publicize the ideas of Brazilian students and professionals in the sector. 

This year 680 pieces of work, coming from almost all Brazilian states, were enrolled. Professionals and students took part in the competition with the aim of showing the different ways of using aluminum and contributing to the sustainable development of the metal’s production chain. 

The 7th Alcoa Prize for Innovation in Aluminum receives institutional support of the main sector entities, such as the IAB (Brazilian Institute of Architects) the Institute of Engineering, UniEthos (Education for Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development), AEnD-BR (Association of University-level Teaching/Research in Design in Brazil), ADP (Association of Product Designers), ABM (Brazilian Association of Metallurgy and Materials), ABEDESIGN (Brazilian Association of Design Companies) and the São Paulo Design Center. The Alcoa Prize also receives technical support from the ABAL (Brazilian Association of Aluminum). 

About Alcoa
Alcoa is the world leader in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina combined, through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems. The Company has 97,000 employees in 34 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at