Three Class 10 students from the city bagged silver and bronze medals at the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Enviro-nment Project (I-SWEEP) Olympiad 2013 on May 13, held in Houston, Texas.
Nambirajan Konar and Kushal Suvarna, students of Modern English School, Chembur, won silver medals in the environment category, while their schoolmate Dhanyeshwari Manojkumar won the bronze.
Over 450 to 500 students from across the world took part in the Olympiad, which focuses on energy, engineering, and environmental projects.
Konar and Suvarna created an organic alternative to chemical preservatives that are sprayed on fruits and vegetables to increase their shelf life. The duo used acetone to extract oil from seeds of the Saga tree, which is effective for 60 days and is not harmful to consume. “Saga trees are common in India and using its seeds is cost-effective,” said Konar. “The judges were so impressed, they suggested we patent it.” Generally, paraffin wax is used to coat perishable products, but consumed over a long time, it is harmful to humans.
Manojkumar, on the other hand, created a biodegradable thin sheet out of banana peels that can be used instead of plastic to coat tablets, and make pouches and mats.
“I used the inner lining of the peel to form a plastic-like flexible material. Unlike plastic, this material is non-polluting. It can last up to two months and with further treatment, its durability can be increased,” she said.