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In the final at the United Nations

Freiburg students, Germany’s only team, compete with their startup for the prize of one million US dollars

Freiburg, Sep 06, 2018

In the final at the United Nations

The four Freiburg students Federico Castillejo, Saji Zagha, Laila Berning and Andrew Bonneau (from left) came out ahead of nearly 150,000 applicants. Photo: Aniela Lea Schafroth

Sterilizing medical instrument quickly and easily, thereby helping to save the lives of people in emerging and developing economies: That is the business idea of the four Freiburg students Laila Berning, Saji Zagha, Andrew Bonneau and Federico Castillejo at the final of the Hult Prize at the United Nations in New York. The University of Freiburg team came out ahead of nearly 150,000 competitors, qualifying for the final round on 15 September 2018 - the only German team to do so. In the final, six teams will present their ideas and compete for the prize of one million dollars. The competition is a partnership between the Hult International Business School and the Clinton Global Initiative; it has become the world’s biggest event for young startups with a focus on fighting environmental problems and humanitarian crises.

Inspired by the core ideas in the Environmental Governance Master’s program headed by Environmental Social Science professor, Heiner Schanz, the students set out to tackle the problem of sterilizing medical instruments, founding the Noor Medical startup. In developing countries and emerging economies, some three billion people are treated in country medical centers. They are often subject to power failures; that means staff must sometimes decide whether to operate with unsterilized instruments or not at all. Autoclaves, the conventional sterilization equipment, are very expensive and dependent on a steady supply of electricity. The autoclave developed by the Freiburg students works on both solar thermal energy and with electricity and is correspondingly good for serving regions which lack electrical power. Working with a Ugandan engineer, the group has built a prototype, the “Hybriclave™.” The model is undergoing initial testing in Uganda.

Noor Medical


Laila Berning
Noor Medical
Phone: +49 (0)176/47661251