Shell NXplorers Peninsular Malaysia Empowers Youth through STEM


First place winners from the Peninsular Malaysia, team ‘Three of a kind’ from SMK Seksyen 9, outshone the competition with their invention, Hydrotics, which reduces wastewater and water disruptions without increasing energy consumption.

SCIENCE, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM for short, are the hot topics of the future.

With the world becoming more automated and digitised, you can see why many are realising the importance of obtaining a proper STEM education in order to strive and succeed in the coming world.

Shell Malaysia is no stranger to this phenomenon as the organisation also perceives the importance of STEM education in the future and has initiated a number of STEM-related programmes for students across Malaysia.

The Shell NXplorers programme is one such initiative. The programme introduces a new way of thinking to help young students address the complex challenges faced by the world through critical thinking and innovation.

This year’s instalment of the programme saw multiple innovations from students across the country, with two innovative projects coming out tops in Peninsular Malaysia. The Peninsular Malaysia winners showcased critical and creative thinking through their inventions.

The winners will move on to the Shell NXplorers Malaysia 2022 National Grand Final challenge to compete with other student team winners each from Sabah and Sarawak. The grand final is scheduled to take place Nov 30, 2022.

First place winners from the Peninsular Malaysia, Team ‘Three of a kind’ from SMK Seksyen 9, outshone the competition with their invention, Hydrotics.

The purpose of Hydrotics is to reduce wastewater and water disruption in Penang’s community without increasing energy consumption. The project's goals are to help Penang’s community during difficult water disruption periods and to normalise water saving in the community.

Team ‘Tri-C-Cle’ from SMK Bandar Puncak Jalil emerged runner-up with their invention, Plants-To-Plants. This is a smart planting pot based on hydroponic technique.

Plants-to-Plants is a unique solution thanks to its use of eco-enzymes as the source of nutrients for crops. The solution consists of PVC pipes, a water tank, a 12V water pump, a wooden frame and most importantly, an automated eco-enzyme box.

The projects were constructed based on addressing issues pertaining to water, food and energy which form a nexus at the heart of sustainable development.

Three of a kind

Three of a kind, which comprises Aleeya Binti M Shaharurrizal, Arief Syazriel Bin Sahir and Amira Farisha Binti Mohd Jefri said that while the process to create and perfect Hydrotics was difficult, the skills they picked up via the Shell NXplorers workshop provided them with the know-how to execute their project.

“It was actually quite a challenging process. We had to constantly go back to the drawing board, and it really challenged our critical and creative thinking abilities,” the students said.

“We were quite lost at the beginning but right after the Shell NXplorers workshop, we were able to apply the NXthinking tools and decided to look into problems related to wastewater and water disruption.

“We are certain that our project will bring about the change in the management of water. If we are able to impact communities and help them solve this challenge, we are certain that we can replicate the solution and achieve the same impact with others facing similar issues.”

The students said that it took about three months to design and build Hydrotics, with an additional month put into research and data gathering.

They also said that they have added a number of new skills to their arsenal through the project.

“We did not realise that there are tools out there that can help young people like us to think systematically about change.

“We are always being told to think critically, but not given the tools to work through and learn from. NXplorers was eye-opening for us.

“It gave us an understanding of the real world and how to improve our change project to make it work in real life,” they said.

They added that the NXplorer mentors and coaches also trained and helped them out along the way, with the cost of trying to innovate also covered by the programme.

Tri-C-Cle

Plants-To-Plants from team Tri-C-Cle is a smart planting pot based on hydroponic technique.Plants-To-Plants from team Tri-C-Cle is a smart planting pot based on hydroponic technique.

Plants-to-Plants is a unique solution thanks to its use of eco-enzyme as the source of nutrients for the crops. The solution consists of PVC pipes, a water tank, a 12V water pump, a wooden frame and most importantly, an automated eco-enzyme box.

The team, including Choong Yan Ying, Chong Zi Hao and Chan Kit Yeong, said that the programme provided them with the opportunity to contribute to solving pertinent local and global issues.

“We haven’t had exposure to many programmes that compels people like us to think and be problem solvers.

“One of the things that NXplorers gave us insights into was the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We felt that it is important for us to think about how we can contribute to achieve some of the goals.

“We wanted to try and see if we can find an innovative way to promote healthy and easy planting, tied to the nexus of water, food and energy,” they said.

Tri-C-Cle added that while Plants-To-Plants operates efficiently, they hope to tweak the prototype to be more sustainable as a whole.

“We want to integrate the use of renewable energy into our device. We want to look into minimising our carbon footprint and we want to try and reduce the cost of producing our prototype, to make our solution more accessible to all,” they said.

They added that unplanned school visits from their programme coach and Shell mentor were pivotal in boosting their confidence in their abilities, so that they could successfully execute the project.

Empowering youth

Shell Malaysia representatives assisted the students during the course of their project with the NXplorers workshops and modules which cover aspects such as systems thinking, scenario planning, the Theory of Change, coding, app design, technical syllabus and soft skills training.

Norizah Othman, General Manager of Projects, Shell Malaysia Upstream said that she was stunned by the invention and industriousness of the student winners from Peninsular Malaysia.

“The students have put in tremendous efforts in coming up with an innovative STEM project which relates to the three elements of real-world issues – food, water and energy,” she said.

“It is amazing to see our young children, at only 13-years-old, participate actively in finding practical solutions for the common problems faced by many, be it local or global communities.”

She added that the success of the students is a testament to what the younger generation can achieve when they are empowered, and given the right tools and opportunities to flourish, especially in STEM fields.

“STEM subjects help to develop the complex and creative thinking needed in our evolving world.

“The future is not yet made, and it needs the young generation to be equipped with the skills and knowledge for greater energy demand.

“I encourage and urge the young people to grab the opportunity to build or enhance their capacity in STEM skills,” she said.

Shell NXplorers is a flagship STEM education initiative by Shell which is delivered across 20 countries worldwide. The initiative is aimed at embracing complexity through real world issues by empowering young people to become agents of change and to address the challenges faced by the world today.

For more information on Shell Malaysia’s STEM NXplorers programme, visit https://www.shell.com.my/sustainability/communities/shell-stem-programme.html

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