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June 29, 2018

Canadian student shortlisted in global competition for sustainable energy idea


Toronto, ON – An idea to harness wind energy in the jet stream above cities such as Toronto with a ‘flying generator’ has been named on a shortlist of five entries for North America in a global competition run by RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) to find solutions to problems facing the world’s cities.

Yujie Wang, an architecture student from Canada, has proposed an innovative scheme combining drone technology and pioneering energy generation techniques to harvest wind energy from the polar front jet steam; a belt of powerful winds high up in the atmosphere above Toronto.

The system, named Jet Stream Catcher, would consist of two key elements: the Genecopter (a mix between a generator and a quadcopter) in the air and an Energy Hub on the ground. The energy generated in the upper atmosphere by the Genecopter is transported to the Energy Hub in the city by a series of small quadcopters. Each small quadcopter would have a built-in energy cell, which plugs into the Genecopter mid-air to charge. It would discharge via ports on the terraced landing pad of the Energy Hub, where it would be stored and distributed to the rest of the city. 

With constant wind speeds of around 100 mph in the jet stream, such a system could make a significant contribution to the growing energy needs of Toronto and other cities in jet stream zones across the globe.

Rapid urbanization poses global challenge for cities

With three million people moving to cities every week, the growth of the urban population is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. This rapid expansion is putting ever-more strain on urban infrastructure and services. Many city dwellers live in slums or poor-quality housing; many put up with poor air quality and inadequate transport links.

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The Cities for our Future competition, run by RICS in partnership with the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, called upon young people to come up with new ideas to help tackle the most pressing problems affecting cities in North America and around the world. The competition received more than 1,200 entries globally and over 50 from North America. The overall winner of the competition will receive a prize of £50,000.

Cassandra Francis of Lambda Alpha International, Head Judge of the regional judging panel for North America said: “North America is already one of most urbanized continents globally, with over 80 per cent of the population of The U.S. and Canada living in cities. It is vital that we meet the challenges posed by further urban expansion as this will impact on the lives of so many citizens.

“We have been hugely impressed by the innovative ideas that young people who have entered the competition have devised to help solve the problems facing cities in North America. If developed further and implanted, all of the shortlisted ideas could have a real impact on people’s lives. Each one of the entries on the North America shortlist would be a worthy global winner.”

An overall winner from North America will be announced in July 2018 and will go on to the global shortlist with the chance to win £50,000. All entries on the global shortlist will get the chance to work with an expert mentor provided by RICS, who will help develop the idea in the run up to the final judging in November.

Sean Tompkins, RICS Global CEO said: “Our aim with the Cities for our Future Competition was to harness the ideas of our diverse and talented young people to help solve the challenges of the cities they care about and make them better for generations to come. We hope that the leaders of the world’s cities are listening and will work with us and all of our shortlisted entries to make these ideas a reality and help tackle some of the most pressing issues facing their cities.”

For more information on the RICS 150 campaign, visit

About RICS

RICS is a global professional body. We promote and enforce the highest professional qualification and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards – bringing confidence to the markets we serve. The work of our professionals creates a safer world: we are proud of our profession’s reputation and we guard it fiercely. RICS will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2018.