How to make bio-based filters with banana tree pulp?
Lucas Sousa Dória and Tiago Fernandes Vieira, the winners of the EUCYS 2022 Bioeconomy Prize, visited Brussels at the invitation of CBE JU in September 2023. This visit aimed to introduce their innovative research project to key policymakers within the European institutions.
During the visit to Brussels, the Portuguese students Lucas and Tiago had the opportunity to discuss their research project with various stakeholders, including representatives from the European Parliament, the Portuguese Permanent Representation, the European Commission, and the CBE JU Scientific Committee. These meetings provided a platform for sharing their innovation and discussing ideas for a more sustainable future.
The visit to Brussels offered the young scientists and their teacher, Angela da Costa Morais, valuable insights into the world of the European Institutions and reinforced their commitment to pursuing their research to the benefit of both the environment and society.
It has been an absolute honour to be able to visit Brussels and show our project to a handful of brilliant and innovative minds. We’ve been warmly received by everyone, and it has been truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Grateful to the CBE for giving us this life-changing opportunity.
Tiago Fernandes Vieira
Innovative solution for microplastic pollution
The young scientists have worked on solving two significant issues in their home region of Madeira island, Portugal: waste from the banana farming industry and microplastic pollution. The thriving banana industry on the island generates substantial waste, with each banana plant producing just one bunch of bananas. After harvest, the remainder of the banana plant, primarily the trunk, is often discarded, resulting in tons of organic waste every year.
The young researchers have successfully tested bio-based filters made from this banana waste, demonstrating remarkable efficiency in removing microplastics from water while retaining their structural integrity and filtering capabilities. The choice of banana pulp was strategic, as it absorbs well, dries fast, and cleans efficiently making it highly effective.
The project was awarded the bioeconomy prize in the 2022 EUCYS competition. Their work stood out among 85 submissions from 33 European countries, highlighting the potential of bio-based solutions to address global challenges.
Exchange with key CBE JU partners in Brussels
The visit started with a presentation of the research project to the CBE JU Programme Office.
This unique experience of presenting our project in Brussels has been incredible from the first moment. Whether at the level of the organisation, the presentations, the way we were very welcomed and received by CBE JU and all the team. I had the opportunity to visit this wonderful city that I have always heard of, which surprised me a lot. I just have to thank this opportunity and no doubt this experience will always be in my memory.
Lucas Sousa Dória
The visitors continued their exchange with John Bell, Chair of the CBE JU Governing Board and Director for a Healthy Planet at the European Commission. Bell stressed the important contribution made to European science by young people like Lucas and Tiago. Lucas, Tiago & their teacher Angela also engaged in discussions with members of the European Parliament, Maria da Graça Carvalho and Isabel Cavalhais, as well as exchanging with the Chair of the CBE JU Scientific Committee, Helena Vieira.
The Ambassador of Portugal to the EU, Manuela Teixeira Pinto, and her team received the young scientists for an in-depth discussion on the EU’s role in its outermost regions. Lucas and Tiago concluded their visit by meeting Pedro Móia from the Cabinet of Commissioner Ferreira at the European Commission.
This past week was like a dream come true and truly a life-changing experience. We are two kids with a big dream, and thanks to all of you, we are a step closer to getting there.
Lucas & Tiago
What is EUCYS?
Every year, the European Commission organises a contest for young scientists, which was set up to promote the ideals of cooperation and exchange between young scientists. The European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) serves as an annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement in various disciplines. The contest is part of the Science and Society activities managed by the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation of the European Commission. Since 2016, CBE JU has supported the contest by sponsoring the bioeconomy prize. The awarded project shall use raw materials of biological origin in a sustainable, renewable, and innovative way whilst promoting scientific research and raising environmental awareness. The winners visit the CBE JU Programme Office and meet the joint undertaking’s founding partners, as well as representatives of EU institutions in Brussels.