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Emirati Shaima Alqassab is using algae to make printing greener
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Emirati Shaima Alqassab is using algae to make printing greener

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In Tomorrow’s Hero, CNN meets young people who are determined to identify and solve problems facing us all.  These are the innovators of the future who mix imagination and ever-growing knowledge to push scientific boundaries. 

Photo credit: CNN/CNN's Tomorrow's Hero

Shaima Alqassab is a 22 year old Emirati chemical engineering student who is also CEO of Alga Life, a company that creates algae-based ink products. The ink is 100% eco-friendly and Shaima is hoping it will replace chemical ink , contributing to the protection of human health and the environment.

Shaima speaks to CNN about how Alga Life was created: “I am really crazy about the environment, and you would find this in any chemical engineer. We really strive, to make this planet a better place using more sustainable and renewable resources to make products. In 2016, it was innovation week in the United Arab Emirates, and everyone was thinking out of the box and creating new things. As chemical engineering students we print a lot so we thought about making a small portable printer that’s eco-friendly.”

On the discovery of using algae: “We were developing the printer and then we said, ‘how about the ink that the printer is going to use’ and we’ve come to know that ink is really toxic and contains something known as carbon black which is the pigment and we thought, ‘how about replacing that carbon black with something from nature?’ We’re replacing the carbon black with green algae.”

Shaima explains how they create ink from the algae: “We extract the algae after growing it, and then we dry it. And then when it's dried, we add some natural ingredients to it, we test the product, and it goes through a certain process so that it's nice and fine. And then we add it to the ink cartridge, and we test it if it's printing or not. It's having the same function so we’re moving towards the vision of sustainability in the UAE and Alga Life is moving along with it.”











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