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Saturday, May 18, 2024 — Houston, TX

Students win BP engineering contest

4/15/15 10:16am

A team of three Rice University juniors won the United States division of BP’s Ultimate Field Trip last week, according to BP, beating teams from six other American research universities in the final round of competition.

The team, composed of McMurtry College junior Benjamin Zhang, Lovett College junior Ruth Long and Hanszen College junior Sun Ji, will travel to Trinidad and Tobago this summer to tour BP facilities with the winning teams from other participating countries.

The Ultimate Field Trip is a yearly competition sponsored by BP in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Angola, in which teams of undergraduates from different universities compete to solve an energy engineering problem, according to the program’s online description. This year, the challenge was to find a way to reduce the amount of water consumed by oil, gas and biofuel production.

In the final stage of the competition, BP chose the Rice team’s proposal to use microalgae to purify wastewater and then produce crude oil over projects from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State, Texas A&M University, the University of Champagne, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas.

“We had such great synergy and fun working on the competition which ultimately culminated into a desire to settle for nothing less than winning first place,” Zhang said.

Zhang credited the engineering department at Rice with helping prepare the team for the contest. Zhang, Long and Ji are all majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering.

“I would encourage every Rice engineering student to participate in design competitions outside of those offered by Rice University,” Zhang said. “There needs to be more exposure to the wonderful engineering programs offered by Rice University.”

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