Egyptian Scientist finds a way to turn plastic waste into biofuel at the age of 16.


Sixteen-year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, a teenager from the Zahran Language School in Alexandria, Egypt, has found a project worth $78 million. The focus of This project is to transform the country’s economy, allowing it to make money from recycled plastic.

Faiad proposed to break down the plastic polymers found in drinking bottles and general waste by turning them into biofuel feedstock. These plastics are known as bulk raw materials which are normally used to produce biofuel. Although this idea is not particularly new, Faiad proposed a catalyst which made her different from any other teenager.

“I found a high-yield catalyst called aluminosilicate that will break down plastic waste and also produce gaseous products like methane, propane and ethane which can be converted into ethanol, a biofuel,” Faiad explained. Furthermore, Faiad elaborated on how technology could ‘provide an economically efficient method for production of hydrocarbon fuel’ which also includes 40 000 tons per year of cracked naptha and 138 000 tons of hydrocarbon gases per year- equivalent to $78 million.

After being presented with the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists, Faiad started developing ideas of how to get her patented through the Egyptian Patent Office. Little did she know that her proposal had generated a lot of interest in the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, who ended up giving her access to a specialised laboratory and high technical research team.

“Plastic waste is a real problem in Egypt and in most other developing countries. This project is simply converting the problem into a solution. The project can be safely implemented as it doesn’t emit any toxic gases as long as its implementation abides by the safety measures applied for similar projects,” Nourwanda Sorour, one of Faiad’s mentors and a fellow student of Egypt’s Alexandria University explained.

Mamdouh Elmelawy, from the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, said that the project is greatly needed in most countries to help substitute fossil fuels. The project is a practical one that can be implemented on a large scale either by the government in Egypt or by the private sectors.

Congratulations Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, we can’t wait to see what you have in stock for us next.