news-icon 11/07/2021

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).

Turning waste into energy

YOUTH FOR CIRCULAR ECONOMY

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.

Turning waste into energy

Our project aims to empower the youth to initiate a paradigm shift in the attitude of society towards waste by turning it into a resource for a continuous circular economy. We propose a combined and innovative solution that leverages microwave induced plasma gasification (MIPG) and anaerobic membrane bioreactor (MBR) technologies to build a sustainable future by greening the deserts and growing the agricultural sector thereby achieving negative carbon emissions and helping the UAE reach its goal of topping the Global Food Security Index by 2051.

Our project deals with all five types of waste streams, namely wastewater, food waste, e-waste, plastic waste, and construction waste. Waste management technologies that we are proposing turn waste into reusable resources and renewable energy, thus perfectly fitting into the circular economy model, a systematic approach to economic development designed to benefit business, society, and the environment. The implementation of the project will expand the employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the UAE, reduce its reliance on food imports, subsequently reducing shipping pollution and energy consumption.

We envision that the youth of today will become empowered, environmentally conscious stakeholders of the future who are committed to the progress of the nation and the flourishing of its environment. This vision requires coordinated investment into outreach and education built on key pillars of sustainable decisions at the individual and policy level. To activate the youth’s full potential, our proposal makes use of five key avenues: education, start-ups, social media, public messaging, and volunteering opportunities.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS INITIATIVE?

Team NYUAD joined this initiative to initiate a paradigm shift in the attitude of society towards waste. Our primary objective is to show that by integrating technologies such as MIPG and MBRS, we can turn waste into renewable energy and reusable materials. We are also excited about the opportunity to present our project at EXPO 2020 in the Swiss Pavilion, thus contributing to the establishment of innovative waste management technologies in the UAE. Finally, team NYUAD wants to empower the youth to become pioneers in the country’s sustainable development by getting involved in various educational, volunteering, entrepreneurship, and social projects.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SWITZERLAND?

Our team is very passionate about the Swiss land and cultures. We believe that Switzerland’s linguistic and cultural diversity, despite its relatively small size, makes it a unique country, characterized by natural and artistic beauties. Some of our favorite sites include the beautiful lakes of Romandy, Zürich’s artistic Grossmünster, Bellinzona’s ancient castles, and Graübunden’s snowy mountains. Moreover, we have great respect and admiration for how Switzerland and its prestigious universities contribute conspicuously to the world of technology and propose numerous scientific projects to combat multiple global issues, ranging from climate change to overpopulation.

WHO ARE THE TEAM MEMBERS?

  • Federico Jannelli – a third-year Economics and Political Science student at New York University of Abu Dhabi. Because of my strong interest in topics such as environmental sustainability, international trade and relations, as well as self-sufficiency I joined this project with a lot of enthusiasm. In this project I am analyzing the likely impact of the technologies that we are attempting to implement on the UAE’s food security goals, sustainability level and circular economy. At the same time, I am working on potential strategies to promote our project at a national level.
  • Nastassja Gerlich – current 2nd year History student from Germany and Switzerland studying at New York University Abu Dhabi. My interest in projects concerning the environment and sustainability stem from a young age, where I organised a campaign with the British Embassy in Azerbaijan to set collective goals of sustainable development and conducted a study to reduce food waste at the international school. This most definitely encouraged me to join such an incredible team, contributing by adding to overall project design and social research, looking at ways to further combat youth unemployment in the UAE.
  • Steffanie Dias – a rising senior studying Mechanical Engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi. I am interested in Renewable Energy hence my participation in the SMECEYI Competition. Currently, I am working on a Capstone project related to waste management and hydrogen production. I am excited to take part in this competition and I am looking forward to being able to participate in the Expo 2020.
  • Vera Petrova –  a rising senior studying at NYUAD. My primary area of interest is Mechanical Engineering. I joined the SMECEYI competition because my Capstone work is closely connected to efficient waste management techniques. Together with a group of students, we are looking at how waste can be converted into a valuable energy resource. Also, our research touches upon the Hydrogen Economy and potential integration of hydrogen production into a waste recycling process. I am excited to be part of team NYUAD and hope that together we will achieve excellent results.
  • Yaman Garg – I am a third-year Civil Engineering student at NYU Abu Dhabi. I am very interested in learning and exploring how sustainable urban environments can be achieved through technology, economy, and policy. This interest brought me to NYUAD’s SMECEYI Team and I will be mainly working on the engineering side to support the research and design of technological aspects of the project, especially the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR).
  • Yehowahi Sekan – a rising senior studying Mechanical Engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi. I am interested in Renewable Energy hence my participation in the SMECEYI Competition. Currently, I am working on a Capstone project related to waste management and hydrogen production. I am excited to take part in this competition and I am looking forward to being able to participate in the Expo 2020.
  • Hannah Kasak-Gliboff – a Social Research and Public Policy major from the class of 2021. She is passionate about the environment and sustainability, and plans to apply her knowledge of the social sciences to strategize inclusive and inspiring sustainability initiatives after graduating. Presently, creating a circular economy is a technological as well as a sociological and economic task, and Hannah is excited by the interdisciplinary leadership Switzerland is taking in that direction. She recently completed a capstone on environmental messaging and how value framing can enhance support for environmental policy and is excited to contribute similar insights from the social sciences to this project.
  • Kevin Kuriakose Joseph – a rising senior, studying Mechanical Engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi. For the past two years, I have been moving around the world to cities like Mumbai, New York and Istanbul and also had the opportunity to live in a different part of Abu Dhabi-Saadiyat Island. These cities all have one thing in common- they are bustling centers of the world. However, they contrast deeply in the ideas, soil, climate cultures and design making me deeply interested in Urban Engineering, Data, Geotechnical Engineering, Sustainability and Policy-Making.In this project, I work and design at the water treatment processes aspect of the project specifically MIPG.