The MENA region is strongly susceptible to climate change risks, because of water scarcity, concentration along coastal zones, thriving oil sector, and climate dependent agriculture in northern nations like Egypt. Agriculture in Egypt constitutes 14.5 percent of the country’s GDP, with over 50% of underutilized and wasted agricultural residues, the picture is even worse, because of their unsafe disposal practices, usually by open combustion which is further adding to the climate change crisis in the country (Egypt is one of the 11 fastest growing greenhouse emissions countries).
From another dimension, industrial developments have revolutionized all economic sectors, with positive impacts on the quality of all aspects of human lives. However, this came at the costs of negatively impacting the surrounding environment. Meanwhile, it is difficult to settle for less. Thus, we need to sustain the successful industrial developments, while maintaining our natural resources. Our primary focus is the construction industry, which is under continuous pressures to meet the population growth demands, and at the same time reduce their carbon footprint, and one way is through the incorporation of renewable recycle raw materials
Here comes nanotechnology, which is the technology of doing more with
less. We have been working on a single business model, that engages two main
greenhouse gases emitting economic sectors(agriculture and construction), and
thus producing a dual positive impact on the reduction of climate change risk
in Egypt, through the protection of the environment from agricultural residues
combustion, and the conversion of cellulosic agricultural and industrial wastes
into NanoCellulosic materials, which -at very small loadings
can elevate the mechanical properties of cement and concrete admixtures.
A year ago we managed to develop an optimized knowhow of converting agro-wastes into Nano fibrillated cellulosic materials. And currently, with the support of an EU-funded incubation program (InnoEgypt), we managed to upscale our laboratory production capacity to 500-750gm 5% gel per month, which enabled us to collaborate with the national housing and building research center HBRC (The national authority governing all aspects of the building sector in Egypt) in the development of nanocellulose based viscosity modifying agents, that can be added to cementitious and concrete mixes, so as to elevate their mechanical strengths, cost-effectively substitute fossil-based synthetic raw materials, and reduce their carbon footprint. Also, we managed to supply few academic researchers working on developing other bio-based solutions, in attempts to contribute towards fostering knowledge development and open innovation growth, to achieve a bio-based circular economy.