Veena Sahajwalla

Veena Sahajwalla FAA FTSE is an inventor and Professor of Materials Science in the Faculty of Science at UNSW Australia.[2] She is the Director of the UNSW SM@RT Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow.[3]

Veena Sahajwalla
Veena Sahajwalla (2013)
EducationIIT Kanpur
OccupationMaterials scientist, inventor
Known for'Green Steel', 'Recycling science', 'Micro factories'
Scientific career
FieldsMaterials science
InstitutionsUniversity of New South Wales

Sahajwalla is known for her role as a councillor on the independent Australian Climate Council[4] and as a judge on the ABC television show The New Inventors. Sahajwalla also served as a commissioner on the now defunct Australian Climate Commission.[5] She featured in a 2008 episode of ABC's science show called Catalyst.

Sahajwalla was born in Mumbai, India. She studied for her master's degree in Vancouver, Canada before settling in Australia. While in Canada, she met and married her husband Rama Mahapatra.[citation needed]


Career and publications

Sahajwalla has been working as a professor at the University of New South Wales since 2008.[6] She founded the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Lab at UNSW in 2008 which focused on recycling science and waste management.[7]

Sahajwalla has been publishing scientific papers focusing on material engineering in journals since 1989.[8] She has published over 380 peer-reviewed scientific papers with both the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur where she completed her education and the University of New South Wales where she works.[6]

Sahajwalla has also published many conference abstracts for international engineering and environmental conferences.[6] She also has written and co-written many book chapters on the science of recycling including Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy.[9]

Green Steel

Sahajwalla is well renowned for her contributions in building a waste-free economy. One of her most impactful projects was finding a cleaner alternative to using coal in the steel production industry. The process she created is named Polymer Injection Technology which is also known as Green Steel.[10]

She discovered that recycled truck tires were a sustainable alternative to using coal as it was an environmentally friendly process that could prevent over 2 million tires from being diverted to landfills each year while simultaneously creating a renewable energy source.[11] Tires could be ground into pellets and be used instead of coal as they released fewer greenhouse gases. Traditional Steel making accounts for about 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.[12] Even though tires cannot be used as an alternative to all the coal used during production, they could substitute a percentage of the total coal consumed in the industry.[13] This solution effectively lowered carbon emissions and prevented waste from being diverted towards landfills. This also will continue to be favorable as the world is rapidly de-carbonizing.[citation needed]

Sahajwalla has continued to work with Australian steel corporations OneSteel and MolyCop to further the development of polymer injection technology. Green Steel technology has now been implemented into global steel-making operations globally.[14] This innovation has made Australia a leader in low-emission steel making.[citation needed]

This Green Steel movement has earned Sahajwalla many awards and grants which have aided her in continuing environmental research.[11] This Project has also earned her international recognition which landed her positions on multiple government organizations focusing on climate change. Her Green Steel process has also been listed as one of the “innovations that could change the way we manufacture” by the US Society for Manufacturing Engineers in 2012.[11] This innovation also won Sahajwalla the Australian Innovation Challenge in the same year.[15] Her innovation in green steel technology also has earned her the 2019 BHERT (Business Higher Education Round Table) Award.[14]


Sahajwalla is also known for innovating micro-factories. She discovered that small scale factories that were comprised one or more specialized machines were much more sustainable. Factories of this scale could be implemented in existing manufacturing businesses to recycle available waste.[16]

She launched her first micro-factory at the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Lab based at the University of New South Wales Kensington Campus in 2018. Her first micro-factory was focused on recycling e-waste from old technology. She found that technological waste housed many precious metals and rare earth minerals.[17] This micro-factory salvaged gold, electrical conductors, and many other rare materials. After collecting these materials, she processed them through thermal techniques so that they could be recycled in new technology.[18] Glass and Plastic used in electronics could also be melted down and used in industrial-grade ceramics and plastic filaments in 3D printing.[19] This new concept revolutionized the recycling process for e-waste. Her contributions to this new e-waste recycling technology allowed her to continue to open new micro-factories targeted at recycling different materials.[citation needed]

Sahajwalla’s second micro factory was launched in 2019 targeting the recycling of glass and textiles into green ceramics.[7] Glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle but due to the expensive nature of recycling, many countries tend to stockpile it instead. This process is expensive to do cross contamination of glass with lids and labels.[16] Sahajwalla's recycling method eliminates the need to separate these materials. Her ceramics are made of a blend of many different materials. This blend gives these ceramics strength and sound absorbancy properties.[16] These ceramics included tiles and furniture which can be used in new architectural developments. She has worked with numerous architectural firms to develop green buildings and infrastructure. Some projects that Sahajwalla has worked on include Mirvac collaboration with Marrickville and Co., Hunters Hill library, and recycled rubbish bins for the city of Canberra.[6]

These micro-factories have been successful in helping local and federal governments recycle materials that would otherwise be diverted to landfills.[20] These micro-factories have created recycling factories for rural areas and have created jobs for many Australians. This is important as previously, waste in rural areas would have to travel to bigger cities to be recycled. This was not a sustainable practice because it produced unnecessary carbon emissions.[citation needed]

Contributions to government organizations

Sahajwalla has been a member of the Australian Climate Council, NSW Circular and the Australian Climate Commission.[citation needed]

Sahajwalla is a councillor on the independent Australian Climate Council and has been awarded the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship & Georgina Sweet Award in 2014.[21]

She was appointed director of the NSW Circular Economy Innovation Network in 2019 by the state government. NSW Circular is a government-funded body that aims to make NSW a zero-carbon circular economy. Sahajwalla manages the environmental efforts made by the organization and provides a face to the organization.[22]

Sahajwalla was a commissioner on the Australian Climate commission alongside Professor Tim Flannery and Professor Will Steffen. The Australian Climate commission was responsible for releasing “reliable and autoreactive” information about climate change to the Australian public.[23]

Sahajwalla also is the leader of the green manufacturing department of the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub. This department focuses on combining academic research with the Australian Industry to improve technology. This has ensured that the industry has the best research which has translated into environmental and economic benefits for the Australian economy.[citation needed]


Sahajwalla is one of Australia’s best-known Engineers. She has been invited to talk at many international conferences including the Farm2Fork Summit in 2019, TRANSFORM conference in 2019, and the Falling Wall conference in 2018. Sahajwalla was also named one of Australia’s 100 most influential engineers as well as one of Australia’s most innovative engineers by Engineers Australia in 2015 and 2016 respectively.[6]

Sahajwalla also runs a mentoring program for women in science called Science 50:50 with the Australian Research Council (ARC). This program aims to inspire Australian women to pursue degrees and careers in Science and Technology.[24]

Television appearances

  • Sahajwalla appeared on ABC TV’s show “New Inventors” for several episodes as the residential engineer judge.[6]
  • She has also been featured on ABC’s “Australian story” which focused on her achievements and research since founding the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology Lab at UNSW.[20]
  • Sahajwalla was a guest panelist on ABC TV’s 2020 Q&A program which discussed the future of the world.[6]
  • Sahajwalla was featured in ABC TV’s show Catalyst in 2008.[6]
  • Sahajwalla presented a Ted Talk at the 2011 Sydney Event named Reviving Waste. [25]


Sahajwalla is known internationally as the Inventor of 'green steel'.[26]

Sahajwalla's research is recognized for changing the way the properties of carbon-bearing materials are understood, including coals, cokes, graphites, plastics, and rubber. Sahajwalla's work has had a significant impact on the theory and practices that form the basis of operations of the Iron-making, Steel-making and Ceramics industries. Of particular importance is her demonstration that waste plastics and waste rubber can be partial replacements for coal and coke in steel-making.[27]

Sahajwalla's unique focus on the evolution of carbon properties in high-temperature conditions has not only advanced scientific understanding of materials processing, but has provided cost-effective opportunities for industries to move towards sustainable and environmentally friendly production methods.[28]

Sahajwalla has also revolutionized the methods of recycling in Australia. Her work to introduce small specialized recycling factories has significantly reduced carbon emissions and provided rural communities a way to up-cycle used items.[7]

Honours and awards

  • 2005: Sahajwalla was awarded the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research[29]
  • 2006: Sahajwalla was awarded the Environmental Technology Award for her work in Engineering Sciences[3]
  • 2008: Sahajwalla was named NSW Scientist of the Year for Engineering Sciences by the NSW Government Office of the Chief Scientist[30]
  • 2011: Sahajwalla was awarded the Nokia Business Innovation Award, presented at the Telstra Business Women's Awards[31]
  • 2011: Sahajwalla was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the Government of India[3]
  • 2012: Sahajwalla was awarded the Banksia Environmental Foundation GE Innovation Award[32]
  • 2012: Sahajwalla won the Australian Innovation Challenge[33] in recognition of her revolutionary work turning recycled rubber tires into steel.[citation needed]
  • 2013: Sahajwalla was awarded the AIST Howe Memorial Lecture award.[34]
  • 2014: Sahajwalla was awarded the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship by the Australian Research Council.[35]
  • 2015: Sahajwalla won the Innovation category in the Australian 100 Women of Influence 2015.[36]
  • 2016: Sahajwalla was a finalist in the NSW Premier's Award for Woman of the Year.[37]
  • 2018: she was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)[38]
  • 2019: BHERT (Business Higher Education Round Table) Award for her Green Steel innovation[14]


  1. ^ "Modern-day alchemists win Australian Laureate Fellowships" . University of New South Wales. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Veena Sahajwalla About Me" . Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology. University of New South Wales. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "SMaRT@UNSW | Sustainable Materials Research & Technology" . Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Veena Sahajwalla" . Climate Council. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Professor Veena Sahajwalla joins the climate commission" . Australian Government. 7 May 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h UNSW Sydney. “SMaRT@UNSW I Sustainable Materials Research & Technology .” Education. Accessed 24 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Chenery, Susan, and Jennifer Feller. "How Veena Sahajwalla’s ‘green Ceramics’ Made from Glass and Clothes Are Revolutionising Manufacturing ." ABC News, 21 February 2021.
  8. ^Prof Veena Sahajwalla .” Office of Resources and Alumni, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. Accessed 28 April 2021.
  9. ^ Crocker, Robert. Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption. Emerald Publishing Limited , 2018.
  10. ^ Review, Waste Management. “First Lady of Green Steel Manufacturing .” Waste Management Review (blog), 17 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b cGreen Steel | SMaRT@UNSW. ” Accessed 29 April 2021.
  12. ^ Allen, Jessica; Honeyands, Tom. "'Green steel' is hailed as the next big thing in Australian industry. Here's what the hype is all about" . The Conversation. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  13. ^ Smith, Deborah. “‘Green Steel’ Technology Saves Two Million Tyres from Landfill .” Text. UNSW Newsroom, 16 October 2014.
  14. ^ a b c "Accolade for UNSW's Green Steel" . Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Professor Veena Sahajwalla " DigitalGrid. Accessed April 29, 2021.
  16. ^ a b c "Plastic 3D printing could replace aluminum" . Reinforced Plastics. 64 (1): 23–24. January 2020. doi:10.1016/j.repl.2019.12.064 . ISSN 0034-3617 .
  17. ^ Hossain, Rumana, and Veena Sahajwalla. “Microrecycling of Waste Flexible Printed Circuit Boards for In-Situ Generation of O- and N-Doped Activated Carbon with Outstanding Supercapacitance Performance.” Resources, Conservation and Recycling 167 (1 April 2021): 105221. .
  18. ^Novel approach for processing hazardous electronic waste. ” Text. Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, 6 November 2018.
  19. ^ "'Nothing should be classified as waste': crisis is opportunity for Veena Sahajwalla" . The Guardian. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  20. ^ a b ABC News. Recycling Revolutionary Shows How You Can Turn Old Clothes into Kitchen Tiles . Australian Story, 2021.
  21. ^ Climate Council. “About Us .” Accessed 29 April 2021.
  22. ^ NSW Circular. “Veena Sahajwalla .” Accessed 29 April 2021.
  23. ^Prof Sahajwalla New Climate Commissioner ". 9News. Accessed 29 April 2021.
  24. ^Science 50:50 .” Text. Australian Research Council, 12 June 2018.
  25. ^ TEDx Talks. TEDxSydney - Veena Sahajwalla - Reviving Waste , 2011.
  26. ^ "'Green steel' from old rubber tyres produces no waste or toxic fumes" . CRC Association. 2 May 2014. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Win win, as waste becomes a resource for industry – The Science Show" . ABC Radio National. 19 July 2014. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  28. ^ "Feature Article – May 2013 OneSteel" . Australian Research Council. 10 May 2013. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  29. ^ Australian Museum (13 May 2005). "University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research" . Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  30. ^ "Past Winners – NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer" . NSW Government. 29 April 2014. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  31. ^ "2011 National Awards Winners" . Telstra Business Women's Awards. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  32. ^ "2012 Winner & Finalists" . Banksia Foundation. 18 August 2013. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  33. ^ Nadin, Mitchell (12 December 2012). "The Innovation Challenge winner could change steel-making forever" . The Australian. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  34. ^ "AIST Howe Memorial Lecture" . Association for Iron & Steel. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  35. ^ "Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellows" . Australian Research Council. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  36. ^ "100 Women of Influence 2015" . 100 Women of Influence. Australian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  37. ^ "NSW Premier's Award for Woman of the Year Finalists 2016" . Health Women NSW ( Archived from the original on 22 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  38. ^ "Professor Veena Sahajwalla" . Retrieved 16 June 2018.

External links


Information as of: 20.08.2021 11:30:02 CEST

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