Canadian University Dubai team builds sustainable water transportation solution

All-girl group of first year engineering students awarded by industry body

13 February 2023, Dubai, UAE: An all-girl team of first year engineering students from Canadian University Dubai (CUD) have developed an award-winning solution for the sustainable transportation of water. The wind-powered lifting system was recognized for its efficient, innovative design, winning first place in a recent competition staged by global industry body, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The team of seventeen-year-olds Danica Reyes and Jana Nozamy, and eighteen-year-olds Marwa Khaled and Somayya Khaled, joined forces just a few weeks into their degree program at CUD to embark on the engineering design project. The challenge was to build a cost-effective and efficient wind-powered wheel, capable of lifting water between two levels without the use of electricity.

Explaining the purpose behind the project, Danica said, “The idea was to create a solution for water transportation in rural areas and other places with limited infrastructure. The prototype we developed combined modern engineering practices with an ancient pumping mechanism driven by wind power. The system demonstrates how centuries-old techniques can be combined with innovative approaches to produce sustainable energy.”

Speaking about the development process, Marwa explained, “We were all just starting out on our mechatronics degree and had to develop a whole new range of skills in a very short space of time. From product design to 3D printing and precision cutting, we had an exciting and challenging hands-on experience that helped us learn a lot about the practice of engineering very early in our studies.”

Somayya continued, “We went through a number of different ideas in designing the propeller blades to optimize the wind power and also in developing the pump action to increase the volume of water transferred.  We were determined to get the best possible output so there was a lot of trial and error, and we tested four alternative approaches before creating the final solution.”

Featuring a unique combination of advanced technology in the form of 3D-printed components, alongside simple household items such as a wooden bread board, the prototype successfully and efficiently pumped water in both upward and downward directions. The team earned first place in the IEEE competition for pumping the highest volume of water, combined with their creative design approach.

Speaking about their success Jana said, “As an all-girl team we are very proud that our project stood out at a competitive industry-led event. We feel empowered by this win to challenge the stereotypes that we’ve all encountered around women in science and technology, and we will continue to follow our passion for engineering and encourage other girls to do the same.” 

Mentoring the team through the competition was Associate Professor, Dr. Ahmed Al-Gindy, who added, “I was extremely impressed with the creativity the team showed in sourcing and adapting the raw materials and the excellent technical skills they demonstrated at such an early stage in their university studies. We want to encourage even more girls to participation in STEM subjects and this team has scored a remarkable achievement that will be an inspiration to other aspiring female engineers.”


About Canadian University Dubai

Canadian University Dubai (CUD), established in 2006, is a higher academic institution located in City Walk, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The University is the #1 ranking University in Dubai and among the leading 2% of universities worldwide, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023.  CUD is a diverse and dynamic institution, with over 120 student nationalities.  CUD offers a wide range of academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with a reputation for academic excellence, offering 18 accredited degree programs and over 30 concentrations, from across four academic faculties.  The curriculum is Canadian based and serves as a gateway for students to pursue higher education, research, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in Canada.

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