2022 Global Award Winners EcoRoad, Team
For most people, speed bumps are a common and unremarkable road safety feature. But for a team of teenage entrepreneurs in Jordan, they’re an inspiration. Fifteen-year-old Zaid, Maya and Mohammad have come up with an ingenious way to use speed bumps to generate electricity.
‘Our business idea is about tackling the energy problem and tackling environmental issues,’ explains EcoRoad team leader Zaid. ‘Jordan has lots and lots of road bumps, so we thought we may as well use them.’
Transforming energy from traffic
The trio’s prize-winning idea sees the bumps adapted to absorb and transform kinetic energy from passing cars, with the electricity then stored in batteries for sale. They came up with the concept as part of the Enterprise Challenge programme – a Prince’s Trust International initiative which sees school students around the world design and develop business ideas with a positive environmental and social impact. The programme is delivered in Jordan by education and entrepreneurship specialists Injaz.
Climate change is a serious threat to young people, but they also have immense potential to lead on climate action. Our programmes work to prepare young people for a future at the heart of a sustainable, circular economy, and the EcoRoad team embodies the creative, collaborative spirit which will be key to building a better, greener future.
‘We were able to find an idea that can help sustain the environment and solve a well-known problem in our community, which was a lack of electricity,’ explains Maya, the team technician.
‘We need entrepreneurs to come up with ideas that fix problems,’ adds Zaid. ‘When factories generate electricity, they often release carbon dioxide, leading to climate change. There are problems supplying electricity in an environmentally friendly way, but our company does that.’
Making it happen
Together, the team investigated the technical possibilities, narrowing it down to two options involving either mechanics or magnets. ‘We all worked as a team,’ explains Mohammad, the group’s researcher. ‘We researched and developed the materials to build a prototype.’
Last year, over 5,500 students entered the annual Enterprise Challenge competition in Jordan, with over 130 school teams taking part. When the EcoRoad team won the national finals, they collected £800 in prize money to further their idea. Since then, they’ve also secured additional seed funding from a private businessman. The team has used their funding to bring in expert engineering input from a local university, where their prototype is now under development.
In recognition of their outstanding achievements, in May 2022 the EcoRoad team won The Prince’s Trust Group’s first ever Global Sustainability Award. ‘Winning this award means a lot to us as a team,’ says Maya. ‘It proves that anyone can create a change if they put enough time and effort into their idea.’