Winners selected for Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

€75.000 awarded to innovative projects in health & sanitation and bioremediation of polluted soil

The winners of the 2017 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge are first-prize winner (at right) Dênis Pires de Lima, PhD, a professor at Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, and runner-up Chioma Blaise Chikere, PhD, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Berlin — Did you know that cashew nuts and castor oil could be used to combat Zika and other deadly mosquito-borne disease? Or that microorganisms in animal excreta make for powerful tools to purify oil contaminated soil?

These are the two innovative ideas recognized yesterday as winners of the second Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Berlin. The top prize of €50.000 went to Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima, a full professor in the Institute of Chemistry of the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. The second prize of €25.000 went to Dr. Chioma Blaise Chikere, a lecturer in the microbiology department of the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

First Prize: “Biosurfactants to combat mosquito-borne diseases”

The proposal presented by Dr. de Lima demonstrates well how sustainable chemistry can contribute to sustainable development in several other fields, in this case health. The scientific jury recognized that the project goes beyond re-using waste; by replacing dangerous toxic chemicals with organic matter, it tackles important global issues for several countries at risk.

Runner-up: “Crude oil-polluted site ecorestoration, Niger Delta, Nigeria”

In awarding Dr. Chikere’s project, the jury members recognized that as the problem of oil-polluted soil goes way beyond Nigeria, the project sets an example for many developing countries facing the same conditions. They also wanted to stress the importance of giving incentive to work with local expertise and raise awareness around an issue that has been devastating the country.