Jiangsu student's green idea wins German favor
Eyram Norgbey, a Ghanaian student studying at the Jiangsu-based Hohai University, wins the 2017 Green Talents award in Berlin, Germany, on Oct 27. [Photo/hhu.edu.cn]
Eyram Norgbey, who is studying for a master’s of science from the Jiangsu-based Hohai University, won the 2017 Green Talents award in Berlin, Germany, on Oct 27.
The 27-year-old Ghanaian, who majors in environmental science and engineering, stood out from the other 602 candidates with his innovative green ideas to lower the world’s dependency on asphalt, an important binding agent for road construction generally made from non-renewable crude oil and believed to have an adverse impact on climate.
Norgbey’s identification of lignin, a type of renewable and environmentally friendly industrial waste material, as a partial replacement for asphalt binder for sustainable and cheaper road construction, was deemed representative of the award’s “Sustainable Production and Consumption” promotion this year.
Lignin is a by-product of the paper-making and corn industries, and about 50 million tons is produced annually. Its antioxidant qualities can prevent oxidation of asphalt roads and extend their service life. It can also be used to make permeable asphalt pavements that better manage flooding.
Norgbey impressed the jury with his viable potential solutions to an array of problems, from lowering costs to decreasing environmental damage and reducing the impact of flooding. He is now working on the feasibility of adding 20 to 30 percent lignin to the standard asphalt mix and analyzing whether the bio-composite can provide sustainable road pavement and stormwater management through its unique engineering properties.