One of the world’s biggest challenges is to figure out a way to deal with waste. That’s where the University of News South Wales’ Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla enters the picture.
She is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor and is renowned for pioneering the field of sustainability science, including the transformation of waste for use as a new generation of ‘green’ materials and products.
With her research team, she has built an unparalleled portfolio of new recycling knowledge and technologies that reform problematic wastes which are not usually subject to conventional recycling and thus end up in landfill and stockpiles into commercially viable new products and valuable manufacturing feedstock materials.
The centrepiece of her entry is the establishment of two MICROfactories that uses microrecycling science to transform problem waste such as e-waste, glass, textiles and plastic into new, value-added materials – for example, green ceramics for building and filament feedstock for 3D printing.
The factories are located in Cootamundra and Nowra, adding to local economies. In fact, Kandui Technologies which operates the factory at Nowra, says Professor Sahajwalla’s work led to the creation of 40 new jobs in a regional town known for its disadvantage.
Finalist - Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla