Masdar Institute Student Receives Prestigious Borealis Student Innovation Award

September 21, 2018

Rana Qudaih to Present Thesis on Polyolefins, Chosen by Jury, at Borealis Innovation Day Event in Austria in January 2012

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 21 December, 2011 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced one of its alumni has won the prestigious Borealis Student Innovation Award for her thesis on Polyolefins (plastics).

Rana Qudaih, a Masdar Institute alumni majored in Mechanical Engineering, will be presenting her thesis in front of an august audience during the Borealis Innovation Day event in January 2012 at Linz, Austria.

The Borealis Student Innovation Award recognizes two most innovative research papers – one for a master’s degree graduate and one for a doctorate degree graduate – on Polyolefins, olefins or melamine. Rana Qudaih is being awarded for her thesis on the Polyolefins (plastics) category. Currently employed as a Manufacturing Engineer with Dubai Cable Company (Ducab), Qudaih worked under the guidance of Dr. Isam Janajreh, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering at Masdar Institute.

Using the cable industry as a case study, Qudaih’s thesis focuses on providing two innovative solutions to reduce the rejected waste of Low Density Poly Ethylene (LDPE), which comprises over 80% of the discarded plastic waste globally. It also reaches up to 12% of total Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). Qudaih’s thesis successfully demonstrates that these solutions work not only at the macro scale but at the large ‘batch’ scale as well.

Among the two solutions discovered by Qudaih, one involves recycling LDPE back to extruder at a controlled quantity, enough to stay within the threshold of the mechanical and thermal properties of the end-product, thereby converting the cable industry into green or zero plastic waste industry. The second solution follows a thermo-chemical process and converting such waste into a byrolytic-oil that is observed to have approximately similar physical and thermo-chemical properties as to that of diesel fuel, which was demonstrated by Rana Qudaih’s work following intense laboratory testing and analyses.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: “The globally prestigious Borealis Student Innovation Award for Rana Qudaih demonstrates our role in developing critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow as mandated by the UAE’s leadership. The award also illustrates Masdar Institute’s status as a world-class institution with a high quality faculty that fosters innovation and human capacity building in the region. While we offer our congratulations to one of our promising alumni, we express our gratitude to the country’s leaders for their guidance and support in our academic endeavor that has brought this distinction.”

Ducab became a partial sponsor of Rana Qudaih’s project following an exploration visit to the plant. Discussions with Samih Zamzam, Plant Manager, led to an assessment that the rejected amount of LDPE waste is alarming. This created an opportunity for Prof Isam Janajreh’s group on ‘Waste to Energy’ at Masdar Institute to conduct their research.

Dr Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director, Public Affairs, said: “The Borealis Student Innovation Award for Qudaih represents a great acknowledgment of the collaboration between the academia and the industry. Within a few years since inception, Masdar Institute has firmly placed itself as one of the leading academic institutions by effortlessly integrating with the global community through intellectually nurturing its high-caliber students. The research outcome of these students who have a penchant for innovation is now being rightfully recognized by international companies based in Europe and we thank the country’s leadership for creating the state-of-the-art facilities that has facilitated our student to obtain this international award.”

Prof Janajreh said: “Rana Qudaih was a member of brilliant group of five students who was attracted to my newly established and well-equipped “Waste to Energy Laboratory” at Masdar Institute. These students have been internationally recognized by their achievements in the two years Master’s program. Without Qudaih’s hard work and dedication, the global-level of accomplishment would not have been possible. The credit also goes to our industrial partner/sponsor and in particular Samih Zamzam who supported the activities of Masdar Institute’s ‘Waste to Energy’ group during every aspect of this project, right from sample preparation to additional testing and many of the subsequent discussions that were fruitful. The research exemplifies the academic-industry partnership that Masdar Institute hopes to further build on in the years to come.”

Rana Qudaih said: “It was a moment of great honor for me when I heard that my Master’s thesis was chosen by the jury for the Borealis Student Innovation Award. I was privileged to work under the guidance of Prof Isam Janajreh whose support was crucial for my thesis to have been chosen for this prestigious award. At the same time, I would like to express my thanks to everyone at Masdar Institute, the faculty and fellow students who constantly helped me during my study. The country should be proud that the UAE’s leaders who have established an institution that offers world-class research and academic facilities to students with an innovative turn of mind.

Qudaih added: “I would also like to urge the students at Masdar Institute to work on a research topic which is interesting to them and where they have the passion to innovate and succeed. At the same time, it is necessary to work hard, be proactive, patient, keep up a positive attitude and stay motivated. While I encourage them to gain insights from data and experiments to validate simulation results, they also need to believe in their abilities and skills that they can be successful researchers to lead the renewable energy and sustainability industry in the future.”

Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change.