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Sussex student innovations win two awards in Telegraph competition

University of Sussex students who have designed a water-saving shower and an energy-efficient generator for electric cars narrowly missed out on a £25,000 prize yesterday (Monday 9 June) after making the final five of a national competition.

STEM awardsRichard Ogodeton (second left) receives his trophy for winning the Environment category of the 2014 Telegraph STEM Awards.

STEM students gettig awardsSussex engineering students Owen Joslin, Gabriel Holdgate and Daniel Crumpton (left-right from third left) pick up their award in the Automotive category.

Sussex Engineering and Design students, separately, won two out of the five categories of the new The Telegraph STEM Awards, designed to reward the best undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering and maths in the UK.

The overall winner, Holly Bishop from Plymouth University, was announced at an awards ceremony in London yesterday.

As category winners, the Sussex students got the chance to meet leading industry experts and received a full critique of their project by industry partners for their future career portfolio.

Richard Ogodeton’s winning entry in the Environment category – an eco shower that saves and recycles water normally wasted while the water heats up – was designed while he was a Product Design undergraduate at Sussex.

After graduating in 2013 and with a StartUp Sussex entrepreneurship award under his belt, Richard has been developing his business while studying at Sussex for a Masters degree in Information Technology with Business and Management, within the Department of Informatics.

His Coflo product captures cold water before it escapes the shower head and then mixes the collected water back into the shower stream during the course of the shower, saving water and making the shower more powerful. It is currently on trial at the Grand Hotel in Brighton and there are plans to use it in University buildings.

Final-year Mechanical Engineering student Daniel Crumpton and his team won the Automotive category of the STEM Awards with their new generator that makes electric-car engines lighter and more efficient.

He worked on the project with fellow MEng Mechanical Engineering students Owen Joslin and Adam Richardson, as well as Gabriel Holdgate, MEng Automotive Engineering, and Justin Sarpong, MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Their CAROP generator could make it much cheaper and energy-efficient to run an extended range electric vehicle (E-REV).

E-REVs run on electricity but also have a petrol-powered internal combustion engine that powers the battery when it is running low. This means that they can travel much further without having to be recharged than a traditional electric vehicle.

However, having two engines makes a vehicle very heavy and using a petrol motor to recharge a car battery is a very inefficient system.

The CAROP generator harnesses the phenomenon of ‘resonance’ to increase the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and how much electricity it can produce. Their design combines the two engines into a single unit and is, therefore, much more compact and lightweight than the technology currently being used.

Daniel said: “Our design is a step forward for the automotive industry to increase the efficiency of range-extended electric vehicles.

“It is still at an early stage but, with more research, this could become a product that reduces carbon emissions the world over.

“Studying a STEM subject at university has many benefits. As well as good job opportunities, you gain the knowledge and skills you need to solve challenging problems in the real world.”

Professor Diane Mynors, Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics, said: “I congratulate the students on combining innovation with their university education to produce such imaginative original solutions.

“We know Sussex students are excellent, the achievement of these students proves they are amongst the best in the country if not the world! And I am sure they would like to thank their lecturers and the support staff.”

At the ceremony, the category winners had the chance to meet leading industry experts and will received a full critique of their project by industry partners for their future career portfolio.

Richard Gray, science correspondent at the Telegraph, said: "One of the most exciting elements of my job, on a daily basis, is hearing and writing about many of the truly gobsmacking feats British scientists and engineers are achieving. It would be a tragedy if that were to dry up.

"I hope these awards will inspire STEM graduates to take their place among our country's greatest minds and I look forward to writing about their achievements in years to come."