Challenge 22 winner dreams of boosting Arab world's sustainability goals
One of ten winners announced at the Challenge 22 finals in November, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy's flagship innovation award, he believes his product has the potential to optimise the renewable energy resources of countries across the Arab world.
Benjered's dream of creating a renewable material made largely out of palm tree branches – the main non-fossil fuel resource of the region – is one step closer after he claimed a USD 15,000 prize during Monday's final in Doha.
Benjered will now have the opportunity to earn a USD 100,000 grant to take his project, 'Palm-Engineered Composite – A World Innovation Made in the Desert', to the proof of concept phase.
"Palm-engineered composite is a huge opportunity for Qatar to optimise the usage of 20,000 tonnes of palm fibre, which is wasted every year in the country," explained Benjered.
"This is a huge asset and my endeavour is to create a legacy by plugging this wastage by transforming it to natural fibre composite, which has uses in stadium seating, solar shading and in the transportation and construction industries. I thank the SC for recognising the importance of utilising palm fibre."
A master's graduate in composite engineering and processing, Benjered explained that his project fits perfectly with the sustainability objectives set out in Qatar National Vision 2030.
"Once operational, the creation of palm-engineered composite will become a fully sustainable industry and play a strategic role in meeting the country's sustainability objectives," he said.
Benjered concluded by saying that the MENA region must stand with the world's technological pioneers to ensure a better future.
"For the Arab world to keep pace with the economic and technological progress being made by Asian countries such as China and India, we need to be united," he said.
"Sharing a common language, religion and culture should be our strength, not our weakness. The pioneering efforts of Qatar in supporting technology and innovation will get better support then."