Swapnil Jadhav, a graduate student at the City College of New York was presented the Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award, during the 15th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, in Washington DC.
For his field project, 'Functional molecular gelators from crop-based feedstock', Jadhav developed a technique to make fruit or tree crop waste into biodegradable gels, which could replace the hazardous petroleum-based cleaners currently in use.
"The primary application of this technology is in the eco-friendly remediation of oil spill areas," he said.
Professor George John, a specialist in green chemistry and Jadhav's mentor said,
"Only two awards were given to students this year. Every year students from all over the world compete in green chemistry. That he brings this award to CCNY this year is quite phenomenal," said.
Jadhav received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mumbai, where green engineering became his passion.
"After researching scientists who utilise renewable resources, I found out about Professor John. I contacted him and he encouraged me to apply to the CCNY," he said.
"Our research group has harnessed bio-based precursors (sugars, fatty acids and plant lipids) to design multi-functional soft-materials including polymers, gels and green surfactants. We have successfully developed environmentally benign antibacterial paints, polymer-coatings, and oil spill recovery materials," John said.
Jadhav has authored original research articles in international journals. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.