Design Engineering

Canadian HS students discover method for biodegradation of plastic

By DE staff   

General environment

Winning project takes top place at international Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

From left to right: Danny Luong, 2010 Stockholm Junior Water Prize winner, H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the Patron of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Alexandre Allard, 2010 Stockholm Junior Water Prize winner and Gretchen McClain, ITT senior vice president and president of ITT Fluid & Motion Control. (Photo: Business Wire)

Canadian teenagers Alexandre Allard and Danny Luong landed first place this week in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, the most prestigious international student award for water-related research. Allard and Luong’s research, which focused on the biodegradation of plastic Polystyrene, demonstrated an approach to break-down harmful plastics in water using micro-organisms and enzymes that are cost effective and readily available.


“Expanded Polystyrine (EPS) is a great threat to the environment since it contributes to the spread of toxins such as styrene and bisphenol A into our waters. We hope that our method will be widely used and consequently increase the water quality in the world”

Allard and Luong receive a $5,000 award and an expense-paid trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, in October, to present their findings at the World Environment Federation annual conference, the largest water quality and technology event in North America.

“We are very proud of Alexandre and Danny for their outstanding research, which demonstrates the imagination and rigor necessary to address the world’s critical water challenges,” said Gretchen McClain, ITT’s senior vice president and president of its Fluid and Motion Control group. “Their project is another example of how important it is to engage the brightest young minds, recognize them through competitions like the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, and to marshal their commitment as the next generation of water leaders.”

The international Stockholm Junior Water Prize is presented each year to high-school age students for outstanding water-related projects that focus on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. Winners from more than 30 national competitions competed for the international honor, which was awarded by an international jury of water professionals and scientists. The prize is administered by the Stockholm International Water Institute.


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