Thursday,
September 21, 2017

Thursday,
September 21, 2017

Category:

Hall of Fame Scholarship Winner Sees Money in Sustainability

Hazem Elshorbagy

Hazem Elshorbagy

UT Dallas full-time MBA student Hazem Elshorbagy has refined biodiesel from algae, designed an environmentally friendly method for heavy crude oil extraction and is using the University campus as a testbed for his ideas to improve the efficiency of trash hauling. 

For his ideas and achievements, the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation named Elshorbagy a recipient of one of its 2015 scholarships, which will be presented today at a dinner in Houston. The competitive awards, which increased from $10,000 to $15,000 each this year, go to graduate business students across Texas who have demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurial skills. 

“I tell the students on day one that you get out of an MBA program what you put into it. Hazem is living proof of that,” said Lisa Shatz, assistant dean for MBA programs in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. “Although he takes his academics seriously, he has put himself out there to try every experience possible and to learn as much as he can from alumni, mentors, faculty and employers.”

Attracted to entrepreneurial endeavors and driven by a commitment to energy conservation and environmental sustainability, Elshorbagy has developed a singular business passion: He wants to turn sustainability in the energy industry into a moneymaking proposition. 

“I call it monetizing sustainability. … What I want to do is make it cost effective for the oil and gas industry to be more environmentally friendly,” he said. 

Elshorbagy, who has worked as a field engineer on drilling rigs in Abu Dhabi and the United States, was part of a team at oil field services company Baker Hughes that broke a U.S. record last year by drilling more than a mile a day in the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve in West Virginia. 

In school, he has maintained industry ties in part by serving as the president of The Energy Association - UT Dallas, a student organization. 

Lisa Shatz

Lisa Shatz

“I like to think that my entrepreneurial vision started when I was in school and decided to earn a degree in mechanical engineering,” said Elshorbagy, who was born in the U.S. and grew up in the United Arab Emirates. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from United Arab Emirates University. 

For his master’s thesis, he developed a method that uses nanoparticle-assisted electromagnetic heating rather than steam injection to move heavy crude oil out of the ground. Earlier, in a competitive capstone project to earn his bachelor’s degree, he and teammates earned third place in a regional competition for their design of an automated system for producing renewable biodiesel from algae grown in wastewater. 

Harvesting biodiesel from algae was not a new idea, Elshorbagy said. 

“What we did new is we proved that as a business concept, it’s very feasible for the UAE," he said. “Actually, the Gulf, the Middle East has better conditions for its success than any other place because it has sun all year round — algae needs the sun — and a lot of wastewater, and it has a lot of empty land that is not being used for anything.” 

Also during his undergraduate years, Elshorbagy and two teammates designed a foot-controlled car. With a steering wheel on the floorboard, their prototype could be turned on and off, accelerated or braked with the right foot and steered with the left. The invention aims primarily to provide people with arm disabilities the ability to drive, he said. Besides earning a U.S. patent, the team recently received a $10,000 young inventors’ award from UAE University. 

At UT Dallas this year, Elshorbagy joined a team that placed third in the inaugural national Future of Transportation Case Competition sponsored by the Fuels Institute. The team developed a rating system for ranking fuels according to their environmental cleanliness. 

I tell the students on day one that you get out of an MBA program what you put into it. Hazem is living proof of that. Although he takes his academics seriously, he has put himself out there to try every experience possible and to learn as much as he can from alumni, mentors, faculty and employers.

Lisa Shatz,
assistant dean for MBA programs in the Naveen Jindal School of Management

Elshorbagy also has launched a startup, Know Your Waste, which is designed to keep a watchful eye on dumpsters. 

On average, waste dumpsters are only 40 percent full when trash haulers empty them, he said. 

“Know Your Waste monitors fill levels to trigger hauling only when dumpsters become full,” Elshorbagy said. “Our innovative solution could save up to 50 percent of the transportation costs incurred in the $35 billion U.S. waste-collection industry while increasing recycling by 40 percent.” 

Aided by Thea Junt, assistant director of energy conservation and sustainability at UT Dallas, Elshorbagy has researched the viability of his idea and put test sensors in place in a campus dumpster. He said he plans to use part of his scholarship money to develop unique software for his business. 

“At UT Dallas, we always support our students as they are exploring their ideas,” Junt said, “I worked with Hazem to guide his ideas into a real-world business application. With waste, any business would be looking to save money and streamline operations. His Know Your Waste ideas could definitely help an organization save money.” 

Elshorbagy, who interned this summer as an executive business strategy consultant for a pair of local entrepreneurs, said he would like to become a full-time energy consultant after graduating in December. 

Because he has accomplished so much “with a humble and grateful attitude, it’s really hard not to root for him,” Shatz said. “I guarantee this won’t be the last time you read about Hazem. He will do great things.” 

Media Contact: Kris Imherr, Naveen Jindal School of Management, (972) 883-4793, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]


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