Chemical engineering Capstone team wins prestigious Palihapitiya Venture Creation Fund $50,000 award

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Nicole Howard,Rachel Blanchard,Kris Ma, and Steven Vilcacundo-Molina standing in front of their poster
Congratulations to Chemical Engineering’s Team 5 students whose project Reduce, Carbonize, Adsorb won the prestigious Palihapitiya Venture Creation Fund award! Waterloo Engineering alumnus and founder of Social Capital, Chamath Palihapitiya created the award in 2014. The Palihapitiya Venture Creation Fund grants two $50,000 awards to Capstone teams who intend to transform their Capstone projects into dynamic new startups post-graduation.

Reduce, Carbonize, Adsorb

Nicole Howard,Rachel Blanchard,Kris Ma, and Steven Vilcacundo-Molina poster: reduce,carbonize,adsorb
Reduce, Carbonize, Adsorb is a sustainability-focused group whose members set out to reduce the harmful effects of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles used at a rate of over 100 million per day worldwide by converting it into a valuable material. As innovative thinkers, team members, Rachel Blanchard, Steven Vilcacundo Molina, Nicole Howard and Kris Ma are dedicated to reducing the ecological footprint caused by plastic water bottle disposal while also providing a value-added product that generates a profit for the investors and stakeholders. Their solution aims to reduce the impact of PET disposal on the environment by converting PET waste into a premium activated carbon product using novel oxygen reduced and controlled thermal decomposition process. The process produces high-value activated carbon with unique material properties. The differentiated material properties, including extremely large surface area and low surface charge, made it appealing for wastewater treatment and air pollution control. 

The future of the project

The team was elated to receive this $50,000 award to help finance their post-graduate startup! Their target markets include carbon dioxide capturing facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, and the textile industry. The team is excited to continue the development of the process through bench-scale as well as pilot-scale testing with the help of the Palihapitiya Venture Creation Fund Award and under the guidance of Professor Tizazu Mekonnen.