Highly effective disinfectant made from food production waste

Startup “Waste to Disinfectant” represents Constructor University at the Hult Prize Challenge

03-Apr-2024
Zain Samdani/Constructor University

The start-up "Waste to Disinfectant" came out on top as the winning team in the OnCampus round of the Hult Prize at Constructor University (from left to right: Zain Samdani, Marzhan Akhmetkulova, James Ziemah, Karim Abualrish, Aarushi Vyas).

The start-up "Waste to Disinfectant" came out on top in the OnCampus round of the Hult Prize Challenge at Constructor University in Bremen, Germany, for producing a highly effective disinfectant made from food production waste from regional companies. Winners of the Hult Prize, a global student start-up competition, obtain one million US-Dollars in funds to turn their ideas into reality.

Plants have natural defenses against bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Even the food waste from the production of beer, coffee or bean flour has an antibacterial effect that can be used to produce disinfectants. This was demonstrated by James Ziemah in his doctoral thesis as part of a research project at Constructor University funded by the European Union and the Bremer Aufbau-Bank. The project was carried out within the working group of Dr. Nikolai Kuhnert, Professor of Chemistry, with the support of Dr. Matthias S. Ullrich, Professor of Microbiology, at Constructor University. Based on this research, the start-up Waste to Disinfectant was created, which Ziemah founded together with students Muhammad Murtaza Shah and Marzhan Akhmetkulova.

A total of 14 teams competed in the OnCampus round of the Hult Prize. This was largely organized by Zain Samdani, who won the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2022 with the start-up "Exoheal". Second place in the OnCampus round of the Hult Prize went to the start-up "NeuroFlex" with an AI-supported exoskeleton for the rehabilitation of lower limbs. Third place went to two start-ups, "Gaia Bloom" and "ResQme". Gaia Bloom has developed a hydroponics system for city dwellers to grow organic fruit and vegetables. ResQme uses a technical solution to connect victims of natural disasters with search and rescue teams to ensure fast and efficient rescue operations.

Waste to Disinfectant has already produced a prototype of its disinfectant. The team is now looking for investors and further funding and is preparing for the next round of the Hult Prize: the competition promotes social entrepreneurship and is based on the sustainability goals of the United Nations. In early summer, the Bremen team will probably compete with start-ups from other countries in Portugal. If this hurdle is also overcome, there will only be one more selection process to go before the final.

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