Student Finds New Way of Turning Plastic into Biofuel
by Rasha Dewedar (SciDev.net) A method for generating biofuel by breaking down plastics using a low-cost catalyst will be developed further in the United Kingdom next month (16 July).
The process was developed by a sixteen-year-old Egyptian student, Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, from the Zahran Language School in Alexandria, Egypt.
Faiad won the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists — involving 130 competitors from 37 countries — held in Finland last year (23–28 September).
Her prize is a week-long placement at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility — the focal point of the European fusion research programme — at the UK-based Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, UK, where Faiad will present her project and receive help with its development.
Faiad proposes exploiting Egypt’s high plastic consumption, which is estimated to be around one million tonnes per year.
“Plastic waste is a real problem in Egypt — and in most developing countries — and this project is simply converting the problem into a solution”, said Nourwanda Sorour, a student at Alexandria University, Egypt, and one of Faiad’s mentors.
Faiad has succeeded in converting plastic into fuel feedstocks — the bulk raw material for producing biofuel — by identifying a catalyst, calcium bentonite, for breaking down the plastic waste that is low in cost. When the waste is broken down, it produces gaseous products including methane, propane and ethane, which are then converted into ethanol for use as biofuel. READ MORE and MORE (Mother Nature Network)