news-icon 06/07/2021

Discover the 10 selected teams who are enabling youth empowerment and waste management with their solutions as part of the Swiss – Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI).

Recycling with Nommas


The Swiss Pavilion in partnership with Swissnex has launched the Swiss – Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI). This initiative brings together students from universities across the Middle East region to develop innovative solutions for a cleaner environment, promoting the circular economy and encouraging youth empowerment.

Mentors from Swiss universities and companies are working hand in hand with the teams, facilitating exchanges and strategic connections for future collaborations. Best projects will be exposed at the Swiss Pavilion and team members will be invited to take part in additional activities, such as workshops and joint panels, leading to unique networking opportunities.

Finalists will be announced during summer and will be given opportunities to further develop their project, in partnership with our judges, mentors and local incubators. Let’s discover the 10 selected teams who are enabling youth empowerment and waste management with their solutions.


Nommas is a new startup from the KAUST based incubator – Taqadam, and serves as a solution provider to improve the waste recycling processes. We aim to build a fully automated system in segregating and sorting the recyclable wastes with minimum human intervention. Based on cutting-edge research, we use advanced computer vision and machine learning technologies to train the machine to “understand” visual features in waste sorting lines, and to further automate the operations into a degree much safer, more efficient, accurate, economic than the current manual solutions. Through this approach, a smart system will be designed to promote automation in real-time segregation, sorting, robotic guidance, and integrated monitoring/analytics, which used to be carried out purely by humans. With the developments and achievements in research, we are committed to break the technical barriers in this area and to bring new possibilities – with enhanced benefit to circular economy and sustainability, that are not previously feasible.

  • Nommas project team

Why did you join this initiative?

The Swiss-Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI) provides an excellent platform to boost and promote the transfer of new technology into circular economy and sustainability. Our solution aligns perfectly with these themes and will benefit the waste disposal or recycling processes by enabling automation in waste segregation and sorting streams with much higher efficiency and accuracy compared to the current manual solutions. The increased rate of waste reuse makes the environment more sustainable, not only by promoting a more salubrious environment, but also with reduced consumption of energy and resources.


The environmental management system is unique in Switzerland by focusing on strengthening the protection of forests and water resources, vigorously developing low-carbon transportation, and introducing economic means to encourage enterprises to voluntarily reduce emissions. Besides, the superb quality of life, education and social security make Switzerland as the paradise to live, it is also home to many decent enterprises that benchmark various professions in finance, clocks, precision instrument, food, etc. Last but not least, we cannot wait for skiing in Switzerland.

Who are the team members?

Dr. Peng Zhan received his PhD at KAUST, with research interest of data assimilation. He is a cofounder of Nommas and led the team to win the finalist of Taqadam incubator at KAUST. Dr. Qilin Sun received his PhD at KAUST, with research interest of computer vision, optics design and automation system. He is a cofounder of Nommas. Aziz is the cofounder of Nommas and he a graduate of manufacturing systems engineering from the United States of America with more than six years of experience in the field of industrial and manufacturing.  Mengwei is a PhD student at KAUST and received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Australia, with experience in modelling of oceanic plastic waste movement, mining waste management, CO2 disposal and radioactive management. Mengwei is a cofounder of WePay, a Fintech startup company in Saudi Arabia. Mengwei has been also an active member of many charities and NGOs for more than six years.