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Zainab is a passionate environmental researcher and her two projects have made great success. In her first project, she introduced an alternate method of ethanol production using waste tissue papers. Ethanol is a biofuel with great economic importance, but traditionally it was produced from agricultural feedstock and its production could intensify the world food crisis. Therefore, she decided to look for an alternate source of ethanol and successfully used cellulosic substances from waste tissue paper that can potentially minimise our dependence on petroleum reserves and reduce the disposal load on the landfills.
In another project, Zainab has produced bio-diesel from Camelina sativa - a plant that has very short growth cycle, greater resistance to drought and has capacity to grow in the desert. This project has strong potential impact on efforts to combat extreme poverty in regions affected by severe drought conditions.
Her research has received worldwide recognition, including an award from Queen Elizabeth II.
Top 3 learnings:
1 Persistence is very important for the success of any innovative project.
2 Lack of resources should never stop you from pursuing an innovative idea, but the importance of resource management can never be ignored.
3 University is the best place to research new ideas because available supervisory support, lab and network resources create an enabling environment for researchers.
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for sustainability in post-16 education