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Reward for ‘revolutionary’ recycling

Australia – Indian researcher Professor Veena Sahajwalla has been awarded the prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship for her ‘micro-recycling’ work, especially in the e-scrap sector. Her research is said to have ‘completely changed’ how the properties of carbon-bearing materials are understood, including coals, cokes, graphites, plastics and rubber tyres.

Professor Sahajwalla, who is director of the University of New South Wales′ Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology, has also received funding worth AU$ 2.37 million (US$ 2.2 million) to benefit her research, on top of the initial AU$ 10 million (US$ 9.3 million) from the Australian Research Council.

This support has helped her devise an environmentally-friendly technology for recycling plastics and rubber tyres in electric arc furnace steelmaking, enabling their use as a partial replacement for coal and coke. Her ′revolutionary approach′ is said to have already prevented over 1.5 million tyres from being landfilled while greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

′The outcome of this fellowship will make a valuable contribution to Australia′s knowledge base and prosperity,′ comments the country′s education minister Christopher Pyne. ′Fellows will also mentor our young researchers, which is vital if we are to continue to produce world-class research.′

Sahajwalla stresses that her latest work ′makes economic sense′ as e-scrap contains various high-value metals such as copper. And the impact of a recycling solution for this ever-growing stream would be even bigger in her home town of Mumbai. ′In India, such research would be beneficial not only in terms of countering environmental challenges but also creating new economic opportunities for the under-privileged,′ she observes.

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Source: The Times of India

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