Page updated 12.11.2014

Students found ways of utilising waste

The Challenge Turku Green camp had 24 participants from five higher education institutions in the Turku area. The students worked in multidisciplinary and international teams aiming to find new ways of utilising waste.

”Invent possibilities for the utilisation of waste composite propane cylinders, you have 24 hours to do it.” This challenge was given to more than twenty students at the Challenge Turku Green 24h innovation camp at the end of last month. The challenge was demanding but also overwhelming – many of the students did not sleep more than a couple of hours that night.

- When a composite cylinder is unacceptable for use as a pressure vessel, it will become waste and will be taken to the landfill, which is expensive and silly. I gave the students a task to think how this waste could be utilised as a raw material for further development or how it could be sold forward as a raw material, tells Ari Ruoho from Vakka-Kaasu Oy.

Students boosting companies’ wiser use of resources

The camp had 24 participants from five higher education institutions in the Turku area. The students worked in multidisciplinary and international teams. New studying and innovating techniques, such as Challenge Turku Green, are a part of Turku University of Applied Sciences’ innovation pedagogy methods, by which SMEs may benefit from students’ innovativeness for example in the form of resource wisdom. The outcome of the camp thus provides the client company with new ideas and useful solutions.

- I went to interview the client company in the early spring as a part of Turku University of Applied Sciences’ Resource Efficiency and recycling as a strength in Southwest Finland – RESU project, in which the material flows of companies in Southwest Finland are mapped with interviews. Then, the idea of cooperation between TUAS and the company was born. An opportunity for cooperation came up already the same week, when TUAS got the chance to organise a camp following the Challenge Turku concept, explains Project Manager and camp leader Henna Knuutila.

The winning team’s solution the most feasible one

The winning team consisted of Iranian Sara Moqaddamerad, Vietnamese Kim Nguyen, Indian Vinod Jose and Jasmine Nedergård and Viljam Haarala from Finland. The students were from Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku School of Economics, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi and their backgrounds varied from business and management to IT engineer studies.

- The camp left me with a great feeling after witnessing how short a time it took for the ideas to be formed into useable solutions. It is rewarding and motivating to work with a case from real life, says the tutor of the winning team, Lasse Rintakumpu from the University of Turku.

The winning team ended up suggesting the company that the composite cylinders should be crushed into powder and sold forward. Additionally, they suggested that in order to make the powder, the client company should invest in a crushing machine. The solution stood out from the other suggestions as it was the most realistic one. The team had also listed potential partners for cooperation for the client company.

The camp ended with the teams presenting their solutions to the challenge. The jury was made up, in addition to the representative of the client company, by Vesa Taatila, Rector and President of Turku University of Applied Sciences, Martin Brandt from Valonia, Johanna Ollila from the University of Turku and the other camp leader and Lecturer at TUAS, Sami Lyytinen. In the evaluations, attention was paid to on the solutions’ innovativeness, feasibility, the idea’s business model and skills of selling the idea to the client company. The assessment by the company had the most weight in the evaluation process. The company evaluated the feasibility of the solutions and their refinement possibilities. 

The camp was organised by Turku University of Applied Sciences’ Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility Research Group on 28–29 October 2014 at the premises of Boost Turku ry and it is part of Ready, Study, Go Turku project.