Prepared and published by volunteers of Ottawa Ismaili Newsletter team:
Congratulations to Alim Khamisa for winning Carleton University’s inaugural Environmental Innovation Challenge! The Challenge is intended to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to produce innovative and practical plans that may address local and global environmental problems. Working in partnership with another student, Alim submitted a proposal for a clean and cost-effective means for breaking down polyurethane waste. As this excerpt from Alim’s proposal explains, “Biodegradation of polyurethanes is an environmentally safe and cost-effective way of dealing with the increasing number of problems associated with the disposal of polyurethanes (PU). Worldwide, only 10% of the total PU waste is recycled which means a massive amount of PU is currently filling landfill sites and even worse – it takes as long as 1000 years for PU to naturally degrade. Current mechanical and chemical methods of recycling or degrading PU are of high cost, energy demanding, and polluting due to the release of toxic by-products..There is great potential in taking the idea of an enzymatically based degradation process for polyurethane to the market because of its advantages of being cost-effective, less polluting, and environmentally friendly.If we, the western societies implement a process like this one, we can act as role models to the rest of the world, especially to third world countries and developing nations.”
The competition carries a cash prize of $1000, with $500 allocated to a charitable organization of the winners’ choice. Alim and his partner agreed that the $500 would go to the AKDN because of the organization’s work in economic and environmental sustainable development.
Alim is now carrying the proposal forward independently, participating in the Technology Venture Challenge, an Eastern Ontario competition well known to those in Ottawa’s technology sector. Successfully proceeding to the semi-final round, Alim has been working with a mentor, Mr. David Mann, former Vice President of Emerging Business Technology Investments at Nortel and past Chair of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, to refine and further develop the business proposal in hopes of making it to the final round. Out of 35 submissions, only 13 advanced to the semi-final-if the proposal makes it to the final round, there is a good possibility of obtaining funding from investors and governmental organizations for research and development.
Good luck to Alim in this exciting project and congratulations on this great accomplishment.
Further information about Carleton’s Environmental Innovation Challenge can be found at:
Information about the Technology Venture Challenge can be obtained at: