Two former Cranfield University students were successful at the 12th annual Crystal Cabin Awards for their innovative water-saving faucet concept for aircraft galleys and lavatories.

Raghavendra Naik, who studied an Air Transport Management MSc at Cranfield in 2016/17, and Buddhi Maduranga, who has returned to the University to complete a PhD while in the role of Assistant Lecturer, won the University category, which offers the next generation of cabin industry pioneers the opportunity to showcase their ‘out of the box’ ideas for aircraft interiors.

The E-tom Smart water tap uses water nebulisation to atomise water, achieving on-board water savings of up to 90% without impacting the cleaning effect on passengers’ hands. Additional features make the faucet ‘fully contactless’ and allow it to sense any filter blockages.

Raghavendra said: “I am thrilled to have won this award. The aircraft cabin is a unique environment with plenty of challenges to be addressed – many of which affect the sustainability of the aircraft.

“Water is an essential commodity on-board but adds to the aircraft weight and efficiency. The E-tom looks at how water can still be used by crew and passengers in a safe and hygienic way, but more economically, therefore benefiting airlines in terms of cost.”

Buddhi added: “Cranfield offers an exceptional learning environment and this concept embodies how academic experts from different research fields can work together with students to support an innovative and cost-saving idea.

“We hope that we will contribute towards making flying better for the passengers of the future.”

The annual Crystal Cabin awards aim to recognise and honour the best ideas and concepts for the future of passenger experience in the aircraft cabin of tomorrow. The eight award categories cover market-ready cabin concepts; greener cabin; health, safety and environment; and - new for 2018 - in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

Raghavendra and Buddhi were among 24 finalists, shortlisted by an international judging panel of 28 industry experts across the eight award categories.

In addition to the inventors receiving a 3D printed trophy and a €1500 cash prize, Raghavendra presented the concept at the ‘Aircraft Interiors Expo’ trade fair in Hamburg on April 11.

All winners at the Crystal Cabin Awards 2018
The winners of the 2018 Crystal Cabin Awards

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.