Egyptian teenager, Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, found that an inexpensive catalyst could turn the country's plastic waste into biofuel at an alarmingly efficient pace.
Turning plastic bottles into biofuel is a practice that has been around for a while, but Azza's process is different because of the catalyst she uses. By using a chemical called aluminosilicate, she is able to break down plastic to produce methane, propane and ethane, which can be converted into the biofuel ethanol. She's estimated that Egypt could produce 40,000 tons of cracked naptha and 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gasses per year, which equates to $78 million in biofuel.
Azza received the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists.