Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad 16-year-old from Egypt discovered a way to turn plastic waste into roughly $78 million worth of biofuels each year.
The idea to use plastic as biofuels is not new, but the Muslim girl from Zahran Language School in Alexandria, Egypt, has found an inexpensive catalyst that could make the process not only economically feasible, but economically profitable for her country. Egypt’s plastic consumption is estimated to total 1 million tons per year, so Faiad’s proposal could completely transform the country’s economy, while also handling their plastic waste issues.
Faiad says that her catalyst, called aluminosilicate, could inexpensively break down plastic waste while producing gaseous products like methane, propane and ethane, which can then be converted into ethanol. She calculates that her discovery could inexpensively generate about 40,000 tons of cracked naphtha and 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gases per year — equivalent to $78 million.
The green teen has already won an award for her findings at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists, and she is currently looking into patenting her idea through the Egyptian Patent Office.