Finally, a purpose for plastic bags
Plastic bags could be converted into fuel if a Masdar
Institute researcher’s proposal becomes a reality.
Qudaih, a Palestinian who was born and raised in Abu Dhabi,
said she was developing methods of reducing plastic waste.
Through thermal chemical conversion, allowing nitrogen to
decompose at high temperatures and pressure in the absence of
oxygen, Ms Qudaih can produce oil and gases that could be used
as sources of energy, she said.
They could also be used
as substitutes for petroleum-based feedstock, fuel that is used
in industrial machines.
Ms Qudaih, 24, who received a
bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the American
University of Sharjah, said: “I’m very interested in
converting waste to energy.”
She said that after she
graduated from Masdar Institute next Sunday, she hoped to
become a specialist in the renewable energy sector.
Qudaih explained that another method of converting plastic
involved mixing different proportions of silane polyethylene
waste, a significant amount of which is generated by the
electric cable industry.
By infusing different amounts,
the recycled material could be stronger with better mechanical
It could then be moulded and used in
“To either convert the plastic
waste into a new product, like the fuel, or to recycle the
material depends on your objective or interests,” Ms Qudaih
She said she hoped to develop both methods
commercially and estimated nearly 70 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s
waste is low-density polyethylene, such as plastic bags.
The Emirates produces up to 8,000 tonnes of plastic film, the
material in bags and wrapping, every month.
the UAE use about 2 billion plastic bags a year, though the
government has taken some steps to eventually ban them.
“It is important to find efficient solutions to reduce low-
density polyethylene waste and its impact on the environment,”
Ms Qudaih conducted much of her research using
discarded electric cables from a local manufacturing company.
As for life after Masdar, Ms Qudaih said she might seek
a doctorate and continue her study as applied research, adding
that Masdar Institute had prepared her for another degree.
Conroy, The National
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