2013 Odebrecht Award

The winners of the 2013 Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development were unveiled on September 9th, 2013 at the award ceremony in Miami. Alina Hudak, Miami-Dade County Deputy Mayor, greeted the guests and presented all finalists with an official congratulatory certificate. Keynote speaker Mitch Maidique, President Emeritus of Florida International University, talked about the importance of leadership for the greater good, encouraging all to listen, be grateful, and to be persistent. Odebrecht executives, clients, partners, and community leaders attended the event, but it was the students who captivated the audience with their ideas, creativity, and eloquence.

Video: 2013 Winning Projects

Video: 2013 Winning Projects

Video: 2013 Ceremony Highlights

Video: 2013 Ceremony Highlights

2013 Winners

University of Cincinnati

2013 Odebrecht Award Winners

Using Trap Grease As the Raw Material for Biodiesel Feedstock Production

Students: Ethan Jacobs, Qingshi Tu, Ronald Gillespie

Advising Professor: Mingming Lu

Executive Summary

One of the largest unseen wastes in society is the wastewater stream. This stream contains an array of substances, one of the most problematic being Fats, Oils, and Greases, known as FOGs. FOGs are the largest contributor to reduced conveyance capacity, clogs, and ruptures in the municipal wastewater system, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in the US each year. We have set out to change the way society views and deals with these wastes; ... in doing so we are able to divert landfill, mitigate substantial costs, and produce a sustainable, low cost energy source. Our proprietary Waste Grease Extraction (WGE) process allows us to utilize FOGs that are difficult for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to process and considered waste by society. We extract these substances from the municipal wastewater stream and use menial processing to convert them into a low-cost biodiesel feedstock. Our feedstock can be used by any existing biodiesel producer as a fungible replacement to their existing feedstock, generally agriculturally based (i.e. soybean oil, rapeseed oil). Our process offers value across the supply chain, not only acting as a remedy for WWTPs, but also contributing to the energy security and environmental sustainability of the United States.

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University of California Berkeley


Solar Photocatalytic Greywater Recycling in Building Facades

Students: David Campbell, Vivek Rao, Henry Kagey,

Advising Professor: Slawomir Hermanowicz

Executive Summary

Water is the lifeblood of human society, and 2.5 billion people live under water-stressed conditions today. Worse still, urbanization, global economic development, and rising energy costs will spread this global water crisis in coming decades. However, we believe that we can transform these three amplifiers of crisis into design opportunities and solutions. Here, we present a water treatment system that integrates directly into a building facade, where it captures sunlight to recycle greywater directly adjacent ... to the point of use. This flow-through system consists of titanium dioxide nanoparticles immobilized upon a series of oppositely-oriented inclined steps. A thin film of contaminated water cascades along these steps, where, in a well-understood chemical reaction, sunlight irradiates the titanium dioxide and generates hydroxyl radicals via photocatalysis. These radicals destroy water contaminants, such as organic pollutants and bacteria. This concept is presented in detail, and is proven through experiments to hold great promise to recycle water in residential buildings. The system’s capacity for impact across and scaling to a variety of communities, along with its financial viability, is described. We believe this technology to be highly relevant to the Odebrecht Organization, and conclude by describing how it could fit well into both municipally- and industrially-focused businesses within the Foz do Brasil, Infraestrutura, and Braskem units of Odebrecht.

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Florida International University

2013 Odebrecht Award Winners

Education, Renewable Energy and Disaster Resistant Housing for Rural Haiti: An Integrated Design for Reconstruction

Students: Amanda Velazquez, Paola Davalos, Sergio Baltodano

Advising Professor: Andres Tremante

Executive Summary

This paper describes the design and implementation of a technological, communal and agricultural training program for sustainable development in rural Haiti. The mechanisms for sustainability encompass disaster-resistant dome-shaped housing with construction material available in-situ, renewable energy for cooking and electricity needs, regenerative agricultural practices and an ecological waste management system. The authors travelled to Haiti in March 2013 to assess expectations of foreign post-earthquake aid versus reality as seen from the Haitian perspective to obtain ... a better understanding of the penetrating difficulties faced by the island nation. The interdisciplinary team proposes an integrated approach towards sustainable development by placing the tools and knowledge in Haitian hands rather than perpetuating charitable measures that do not address long-term reconstruction efforts.

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Special Recognition

University with the highest number of entries among the Top 15 entries.

Johns Hopkins University

Modesto A. Maidique, Ph.D.


Harvey M. Bernstein

Mcgraw-Hill Construction

Vice President, Industry Insights & Alliances

Manny Diaz

Lydecker Diaz

Senior Partner

Scott Kirkpatrick

Coast Builders Coalition


Paula Loomis

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Sustainability Program Manager

Brooke Weizmann

American Chemistry Council

Director of Sustainability/ Responsible Care

Tom Couling

Zachry Construction Corporation

Corporate Manager, Environment

Dave Mashek

Meinert/Mashek Communications


Jonathan Doh

Center for Global Leadership at Villanova University

Herbert G. Rammrath Chair in International Business and Faculty Director

The Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development helps bridge the gap between the academic and corporate worlds, and find solutions that promote sustainability via the transfer and application of technology into the operational practice of business, especially in the areas where the Odebrecht Organization operates.