2024 Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge – Top 5

Published: Monday 12th February 2024
Categories: NEWS

We believe that chemistry plays a critical role in developing a sustainable future. Chemists have a special responsibility to develop those new products, resources and processes to make that happen. After 5 successful editions of the Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, and thousands of proposals from around the world, we are proud to re-launch as the Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge.

We’re proud to announce the top 5 contestants, who will join us at the 8th Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference (13-15 May, 2024) and will pitch their proposals to the scientific jury.

  • Salah El Sadi, Removal of Nitrate and Chloride from water using a green technology that is free from chemicals or electricity
  • Altantuya Ochirkhuyag, Oyun-Erdene Gendenjamts, VolcaniBlock: Sustainable block Material from Mongolian Volcanic Rocks for Organic Pollutant Removal in Wastewater
  • Gudula Naiga, Waste management: black soldier fly protein insect value chain linkages
  • María Alejandra Flórez-Restrepo, Xiomara López-Legarda and Freimar Segura-Sánchez, Development of mycelium biomaterials from white-rot fungi isolated from Colombian forests for climate action
  • John Adongo, Cynthia Mudalungu and Alice Ochieng, Carbon capture beads designed from iron-fortified avocado seed waste

Meet the finalists

Finalist Name

Salah El Sadi

Founder and manager, Blue Filter Company, Palestine

Salah El Sadi is the founder and manager of the Blue Filter Company, specialized in water treatment technology. He is an expert in the fields of water and environmental science, industrial chemistry, and green entrepreneurship. He holds a master’s degree in water and environmental science, a bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry and a diploma in leadership and teaching through a Fulbright scholarship as well as a diploma in entrepreneurship.

Throughout his career, he has held various positions such as the Manager of the Chemistry Laboratory at the Ministry of National Economy, Circular and Blue Economy Expert, and consultant to UNICEF and the World Orthodox Organization in the field of green entrepreneurship. Salah’s achievements encompass a diverse range of accomplishments, including patent registrations, winning water purification competitions, and receiving prestigious awards. He has been recognized as the best researcher in the world by ARESCO and other international organizations.
Committed to making a positive impact, Salah shares his expertise by teaching and mentoring the youth in local and international associations, inspiring them to contribute to a better and more sustainable world.

Finalist Name

María Alejandra Flórez-Restrepo, Xiomara López-Legarda and Freimar Segura-Sánchez

Biopolimer research group, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Since its establishment, the Biopolimer research group, through its research lines ‘Assessment of the ligninolytic potential of various species of basidiomycete fungi and bioprocesses for biotechnological applications’ and ‘Assessment of the potential of Colombian fungi for the development of bioprocesses and the obtaining of metabolites for biotechnological, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food applications,’ has developed different research proposals and undergraduate and postgraduate projects related to the applications of ligninolytic fungi isolated in Colombia.

Within their experience lies the production, extraction, and purification of metabolites produced by fungi, which can be used for industrial and environmental applications. This includes the biodegradation of recalcitrant compounds in the environment such as dyes, pesticides, plastics, and other pollutants. In this regard, we have been investigating the development of biomaterials from fungi that can be an eco-friendly alternative, positively impacting ecosystems and society.

John Adongo

John Onyango Adongo

Lecturer, Egerton University, Kenya

Dr. John Onyango Adongo holds a Doctor of Natural Sciences degree in Chemistry from Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin (2018). With a background in organic surface modification research, he now serves as a lecturer of organometallic chemistry at Egerton University, Kenya

Dr. Adongo’s research at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) focused on organic surface modification techniques for heavy metal trapping applications, which has significant environmental and industrial implications. This research was sponsored by the prestigious German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which allowed him to deepen his expertise in the field. As a lecturer at Egerton University in his home country of Kenya, Dr. Adongo is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with the next generation of chemists, contributing to the development of organometallic chemistry and fostering academic excellence.

Gudula Naiga Basaza

Gudula Naiga Basaza

Managing Director and Founder, R&G Investments Ltd ; Associate Professor at Bishop Stuart University, Uganda

Dr. Gudula Naiga Basaza is a dedicated social entrepreneur, innovator, and Associate Professor at Bishop Stuart University. With a focus on empowering underprivileged communities, she aims to develop 1,000,000 Youth Agripreneur Champions (YACs) by 2030. A skilled leader and innovator, Dr. Basaza has received numerous awards for her social entrepreneurship and impactful work.

Dr. Gudula Naiga Basaza specializes in educational technology, ICT, and educational sciences, with research interests in sustainable agribusiness and empowering women and youth. She has incubated over 211,000 Youth Agripreneur Champions in Uganda and holds key leadership positions. A recognized innovator, Dr. Basaza has developed various organic products and received numerous awards for her social entrepreneurship and impact, driving positive change within her community.

Altantuya Ochirkhuyag

Altantuya Ochirkhuyag

Researcher, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Mongolia

Altantuya Ochirkhuyag is a distinguished Environmental Chemist whose academic journey has been marked by notable achievements and contributions to the field. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Environmental Chemistry from the esteemed National University of Mongolia in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Driven by a passion for environmental science, she furthered her education by pursuing a PhD in Environmental Science at the University of Szeged in Hungary, culminating in her successful completion of the program in 2021.

She now holds a position as a researcher at the prestigious Mongolian Academy of Sciences, specifically within the esteemed Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technology. Her research focuses on the synthesis of advanced materials derived from natural minerals and waste materials, with a particular emphasis on their application in addressing environmental challenges. Through her work, Altantuya Ochirkhuyag exemplifies a commitment to advancing sustainable practices in chemistry and leveraging innovative solutions to mitigate environmental issues.