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Dow, Covenant University Collaborates to Tackle Plastics Waste, Reduce Cost of Building, Create Wealth

The relationship between Dow Industrial Chemicals Nigeria Limited and Covenant University is about to result in a major breakthrough in the quest to save the environment, fight climate change, reduce plastic waste in the ecosystem and bring down the cost of building houses.

This much was unveiled during a parley when the executives of Dow presented a solar machine for the production of building materials from plastic and wood waste to a research cluster in the university.

Mr. Adebisi Adeoti, Managing Director of Dow Nigeria, stated that the collaboration between Dow and Covenant in developing a solar-powered sawdust-waste plastics building block production system in Nigeria is aimed at reducing the environmental pollution effect of waste plastics and sawdust by recycling both to make building blocks and roof sheets, making housing more affordable, particularly in developing nations.

Mr. Adeoti said that as part of Dow’s commitment to protecting the climate by 2050, the organization’s intent is to work towards being carbon neutral in operation and, by 2030, work towards reducing its net annual carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons versus its 2020 baseline of 15%.

He said the partnership is targeted at reducing the effect of plastic waste by 2030 through a renewed commitment to harvesting at least a million metric tons of plastic per year, reused or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships, among which is the partnership with Covenant University.

Mr. Adeoti spoke on the intent of Dow to close the existing loop of plastic waste manufacturing by having 100% of its products sold into packaging applications that will be reusable or recyclable, like developing a building block prototype made of plastic waste and sawdust.

According to him, the partnership with Covenant will see to the assembling of a solar power system for powering the process of recycling plastic waste, producing composite slabs of different sawdust-plastic compositions, carrying out mechanical property tests on the slabs, and producing composite matrix blocks and testing the compressive strength of the final product.

"In line with Dow’s sustainability goals, we will provide the opportunity for Dow to collaborate with academia to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to solve social problems while unlocking opportunities for recycling plastic and solving plastic waste problems in Nigeria," he added.

Mr. Adeoti noted that the renewed efforts to address the issues associated with plastic waste will kick start a circular economy that will help mainstream new building techniques and at the same time reduce plastic waste from flooding the environment.

At the unveiling of the Dow-Covenant University solar-powered waste building material project centre, Mr. Adeoti said one of the participating students on the project is currently on a 9-month internship programme in Spain sponsored by Dow.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, said he was enthused by the prospect of the relationship, noting that in developed countries it is relationships between the town and the gown that spearhead development.

According to him, coming together to conduct research of this magnitude directed at solving challenges bedevilling national development is what should be encouraged. Professor Adebayo said every innovation is targeted at meeting certain objectives and will, along the line, be evaluated, recalibrated, and modified to meet existing demands.

The Vice-Chancellor, in the company of the Acting Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Igban, and the Director, Financial Services, Pastor Olugbenga Kiki, said he was encouraged by the development of the relationship and asked the lead researcher, Professor James Omoleye, and his team to work assiduously on an escalating project to commercial scale from a laboratory project.

In addition, Professor Adebayo tasked the research team to look at the possibility of going beyond the relevance of the material to housing construction and to possible prospects of using the materials as interlocking blocks for road construction.

Also present at the unveiling of the Dow-Covenant University solar-powered waste building material project centre were the Dean, College of Engineering, Professor David Olukanni; Deputy Director, Covenant University Centre for Research, Innovation and Discovery, Engr. Samuel Sanni; Head, Department of Petroleum Engineering, Professor Priye Orodu; Head, Department of Civil Engineering, Professor Anthony Ede; Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Joshua Okeniyi; Head, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering; Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, Professor Vincent Efeovbokhan; Professor Emmanuel Adetiba; Dr. Olagoke Oladokun of the Chemical Engineering Department; and other members of the research cluster.



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