A few days ago, I attended a TEDxChange event in Harare, a local Harare independent chapter of the international TEDxChange initiative, which is a partnership of TED and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The objective of the events is to encourage conversations on “ideas worth spreading” on health, development, and education issues. It’s really a great event to attend and those that managed to attend will attest to this.
Amoung the inspiring presentations made at the event was this project by a BOOST-SIFE Zimbabwe team of students at the Midlands State University (more about the BOOST-SIFE initiative here), which I thought would be great share here. The project is called Gre-Cycling and it’s basically research on a machine that converts waste plastic to diesel. The conversion process produces by-products that include candle wax and low cost floor polish. The project has been entered and has so far qualified for the semi-final round of the global Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Here’s the project’s page on the Dell Challenge website.
According to the SIFE-MSU team, their machine can theoretically convert 60kgs of waste plastic into 60 litres of diesel. A model they’re building, which costs about US $2,000 to complete, will be able to produce diesel at $0.33. The team is piloting the project in a residential area close to their university in Gweru called Senga. The Senga community, according to them, will benefit through revenue generation, job creation and a clean environment as the waste will be collected from unattended dumps in the community. The profits that the project makes will go towards infrastructural development of the community.
We had an opportunity to chat to the SIFE-MSU team leader who’s handling their marketing and online efforts for the team and he told us they’re presenting other ideas at an event where all SIFE teams in Zimbabwe will be showcasing their ideas on 19 April in Harare. Looking forward to it!