Tribune News Network
Sustainability is key to the future of this planet, with aspiring innovators becoming increasingly focused on creating green solutions to address pressing challenges of our time. And Stars of Science contestants are no different.
Channeling the expertise, skills and knowledge garnered from their experience on Qatar Foundation’s (QF) edutainment TV show, many former participants are actively contributing to the global mission of creating a greener, more sustainable future.
Youcef Fermi, from Algeria, took part in season 14 of Stars of Science with his ‘Scorpion Venom Safe Milking’ invention.
He now works as the lead research and development engineer of Atmospheric Plasma Innovative Applications at SAIREM, a producer of plasma devices for a wide range of applications. In this role, he is developing a microwave plasma source for the production of hydrogen through methane pyrolysis – a process where methane is broken down using heat.
Speaking about the importance of sustainability, he said, “It is essential to our long-term survival. Climate change is a major threat to our planet, and we need to take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate its effects.”
Within his role at SAIREM, he also hopes to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and engineering, as – according to Fermi – he believes that the world needs more innovators working on solutions to challenges facing our planet.
“I want to use my skills and experience to help other businesses transition to more sustainable practices, as well as use my platform to advocate for sustainability and inspire others to take action,” he said.
For Sumaiya Al Siyabi, the winner of last year’s season of Stars of Science – and the first woman to be crowned winner – sustainability is “a personal passion and a global necessity”.
She said, “The urgency of addressing environmental issues like plastic pollution and climate change is undeniable.”
Al Siyabi, from Oman, won with her ‘Remediation and Disposal of Micro-Plastics project’. Designed to float in the ocean, the device aims to trap and dispose of microplastics.
She added, “I chose to focus on sustainability because it’s not just about preserving our environment; it’s about ensuring a better quality of life for current and future generations.”
Speaking about her innovation specifically, she said, “Microplastics, being a pervasive and harmful pollutant, demanded attention. My project aimed to provide a sustainable solution to this problem by leveraging cutting-edge technologies.”
According to Al Siyabi, her Stars of Science experience was “transformative”, with the mentors and experts on the show providing invaluable guidance that was crucial in the development of the invention, especially in the use of biotechnology and nanotechnology.
Since the show concluded, Al Siyabi has been working with entities, such as Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, to further the idea, as well as collaborating with environmental organisations and local communities to create awareness about microplastic pollution and the potential of her solution to mitigate its impact.
“Looking ahead, my vision is for my innovation to make a meaningful impact globally,” she said.
Riadh Abdelhedi, from Tunisia, won season 13 of Stars of Science in 2021, with his ‘Hybrid Power Bank’ – branded ‘HyPow’ – a smart power storage system that combines lithium-ion batteries with supercapacitor technology, allowing the device to charge itself fully in a few minutes.
Since leaving the show, Abdelhedi has founded HYTAKA – an energy deepTech startup. Focusing on the intersection of IT, energy and utilities, it provides consultancy in these sectors.
Stars of Science is currently accepting applications for season 16. The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 1, 2023. For further details, visit the website:www.starsofscience.info.