Engineering Student Turns Plastic into Diesel*
By Musah Idriss
A final year Chemical Engineering student of the National University of Science and Technology, Farai Musendo has tapped into Zimbabwe’s waste problem, designing a machine that turns plastic to diesel.
The innovative student engineer who stood out at the 57th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has revealed that his innovation, if tried and tested, can be used to fuel millions of vehicles in Zimbabwe, and will also go a long way in ribbing the country of its plastic waste problem.
He said he will require an investment of $100,000 in order to complete research on his petro-chemical innovation.
“This is value addition through litter. We collect used plastics and clean them before processing them into diesel. What I’ve are just samples and my passion of waste management drove me to do this. As a country we’re far from properly managing our waste. So this is part of waste management project and improving our energy sector. This could also create employment if it succeeds. We can create employment for people who would be collecting the waste on our behalf. 100 kilogrammes of plastic litter is equivalent to 55,2 litres of fuel,” he said.
Meanwhile, the director of the university in charge of marketing and public relations, Felix Moyo, reveals that the university encourages young and innovative students to come up with technological breakthroughs that can transform Zimbabwe to a science and technology driven economy.
“Innovation projects improve people’s lives as well as the nation at large. We’ve managed to top the education sector through the sincerity of our projects. Our innovations are things that are implementable, STEM is really not about academic subjects but the subjects should be practical to transform people’s lives and the economy as well as the country,” Moyo revealed.
Waste management continues to be a grave issue of concern in Zimbabwe. Concerns have been raised regarding how the food industry is contributing to the problem through the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) also known as kaylite. While the Zimbabwean government has prohibited the use of EPS, it is still used for packaging in restaurants and fast food outlets.