Youth: The next generation of climate tech innovators

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The COP27 event on 8 November at 14:00 entitled "Youth: the next generation of climate tech innovators" will give youth innovators a platform to share their creative climate solutions with the world. Here we feature three stories that encapsulate the power of youth to brilliantly think outside the box, create solutions to complex climate challenges, and successfully scale up their solutions to a broad range of stakeholders, increasing their impact.

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In the Middle East and North Africa Region, natural gas and fertilizer prices were three times as high as normal in 2021. In addition, 850,000 trees are cut down annually for firewood and 300 million people are impacted by improper waste management practices.

The founder, CEO and UN Young Champion of the Earth, Omar Badokhon, created bioTreasure as a ‘sustainable solution for organic waste management to produce clean energy and biofertilizers.” bioTreasure provides a sophisticated hardware platform for recycling organic waste using a fully tested digester system for organic waste, and biogas for cooking and fertilizer for households, which reduces organic waste and serves an additional source of income for rural communities.

In 2018, Omar designed and tested a mobile prototype, and by 2022, he and his team had developed a business plan with CAPEX contracts. During 2022-2024, they are planning for market acquisition in Yemen, and in 2025 and beyond, aiming for an expansion to Eastern Africa. Five institutions have substantially supported their work -- UNDP, UNEP, British Council, BCHR-WFP, and the Selah Foundation.

A home scale biogas system by bioTreasure can eliminate 1-2 tons of waste per year, up to 6 tons CO2 eq per year, deliver 80% energy savings, reduce the workload of women and children between 1.5 and 3 hours per day, produce up to 8 tons of liquid and solid fertilizers as well as 2.5 to 3 hours of daily clean cooking fuel, and save 1.86 tons of fuelwood per year to fight deforestation. It is the only company providing these services that provides user-friendly design, good price and quality performance, and a 10-year expected product service time.


YuDa: A vegan way into the leather industry

The leather industry creates carbon emissions and toxic wastewater, with 85% of products being nondegradable and thereby creating a large quantity of agricultural waste. Vegan leather is made from sugarcane agricultural waste, and exhibits several beneficial properties, including increased strength and a lifetime of 5-7 years. It is also waterproof, biodegradable, and much more affordable. Therefore, vegan leather is gaining steam. The market size for the vegan leather industry is projected to be $90 billion by 2025 with a 10% growth rate.

Donia Ebrahim, founder and CEO, along with Yasmeen Mohsen, Ahmed Zayed, and Menna-tulla Sharaf formed YuDa in 2022 to produce vegan leather products.

Compared to natural leather and other artificial and vegan types of leather, YuDa is the only one that can boast better biodegradability, better price, and durability. The team’s general business plan is to move from serving as a local fashion brand to an industrial-scale leather sheet producer. The initial target market was furniture fcactories in Egypt. They then began forging partnerships with ecofriendly organizations (incluing a partnership with VeryNile), while progressing to an online marketing campaign, and culminating in the launch of their own brand accompanied by their own marketplace.

YuDa’s vegan leather is capable of recycling 250K tons of bagasse per month, decreasing carbon emissions by 20%, and improving air quality and public health. Its production is also contriuting to the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) 12, 13, and 15.


Ptf plastfuel

The sad reality is that only 7% of plastic recycled. Lebanon dumps 200,000 tons of plastic waste yearly. And fuel prices have increased by 50% since 2020. However, the plastic-to-fuel technology market is expected to reach 26 billion by 2026.

Charbel Abi Doumit, Charbel Sayah, and Andre Haddad are the team behind the creation of Ptf plastfuel. The team received mentoring by Total to produce the first prototype in 2021. The second protoype is being prepared to launch in 2023. In two years, the team will target about 20 facilities in Lebanon, and in 5 years, they hope to expand outside of Lebanon. Ultimately, Ptf plastfuel aims to be in use at sorting and recycling facilities, universities, and hospitals.

For 1 ton of plastic waste, Ptf can create 600 L of diesel oil and 250-300 of lighter oil. Using a circular and affordable process, it produces standard small sizes (200L, 500L, and 1000L). They expect that carbon emissions from plastic manufacturing from waste plastic oil will be reduced by 70%, that Ptf will contribute to 50% fewer emissions than incineration, and 40% fewer emissions using waste oil and diesel blend. In addition, Ptf will contribute to job creation, the circular economy and waste valorization. They are currently raising $150,000 to invest in a test for environmental standards, a production facility, and creation of a legal entity.


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