After experiencing a severe drought firsthand in his village, we set out on a mission to end water scarcity and hunger around the globe. With the help of a polymer chemist, we spent two years developing Solvify, a super-absorbent nano-powder that can retain mass quantities of water that gets slowly released to the roots of plants/crops.
Solvify is conducting innovative, groundbreaking work that could help change the agriculture industry as well as the alarming rate of starvation and malnutrition in the world. It has the potential to make land threatened with desertification fertile again.
Realizing the potential of this simple solution following its pilot-run, my co-founders and I set out on a mission to improve upon it—looking forward to spending time and money on R&D, and democratizing it to as many farmers as possible. For this purpose, our team participated in the Diamond Challenge held in the University of Delaware, US. Winning the whole thing, Solvify utilised the prize grant that followed, ramping up its outreach to aid 150+ poor farmer families in earning their daily bread. On an aggregate level, this allows farmers to grow ~15-25% more food/hectare using ~70% less water compared to traditional practices.
Dr. Haris Samiullah
Ph.D. Polymer Chemistry & Characterization
Field: Biodegradable Polymers and Plastics, Cross-Linking, Polymer Processing
Dr. Haris holds a Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering from Germany. His research focuses on innovative polymeric technologies such as various bridgeable polymers that can be commercialized and utilized sustainably. He has extensive experience in working for various polymeric, plastic, and rubber industries across Pakistan. Currently, he is serving as the Chief of Polymer Processing at PakVitae in Singapore where he is leading the research on polymeric hollow fiber membranes. At PlastiSolve, Dr. Haris is serving as the lead technology consultant and is helping the team with his knowledge of polymers and plastics and their processing to design effective processes for the degradation of the plastic materials.
Hafiz Usama Tanveer
Field: Membrane Development for Physical Separations and Water Treatment
Usama is a Chemical engineer, water and social entrepreneur, an advocate of climate, and a devoted volunteer for humanitarian causes. He is very passionate to solve the pressing sustainability problems of the developing world, including water scarcity, shortage of clean drinking water, and environmental pollution. He has worked on multiple research projects to explore the applications of water purification technologies for the developing world and has founded his water-technology startup PakVitae and 9.O in Pakistan and Singapore respectively. Usama has represented Pakistan through highly competitive international fellowships including Cordes Fellowship, Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, Fred. J. Hansen Fellowship, Global Young Water Fellowship, and Global UGRAD Fellowship. Recently he has been awarded the Commonwealth Youth Award 2020 as a regional winner from the Asian continent and made it to the Forbes 30 under 30, class of 2020 under the social entrepreneur category. At PlastiSolve, Usama works as the lab team member and helps in designing various experiments and experimental rigs to study the effects of different processes. For instance, he recently worked on the design of a vessel with a control system to maintain a specific range of temperature and pH.
Haroon Ahmed Butt
Field: Anti-fouling of polymer for water disinfection.
Haroon Ahmed Butt is a Materials Engineer and a motivated social entrepreneur who is one of the co-founders of Solvify – a Social Entrepreneurship endeavor aimed at providing a solution for farmers to grow organic food and also conserve water. He is also a Climate Reality Leader trained by Former VP Al Gore himself, a Global Shaper, and was selected in ChangemakerXChange Program 2020. All of this helped shaped Haroon’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision. Haroon’s desire for effective social change,coupled with his ambition tackle ongoing crises is what lead to the project, and the team’s goal is providing affordable solutions to impoverished communities with food and water scarcity.
Field: Chemical Engineer Intern
When he learned in chemistry class about hydrogels revolutionizing agriculture, Hasham grew determined to use this solution to address food and water security. He teamed up with a polymer chemist, and after two years of experimentation, Hasham developed Solvify. The super-absorbent-particle, which is made from non-hazardous and biodegradable waste materials, can retain water weighing 500 times its own weight. When applied to soil, Solvify reduces the need for water by 70%, reduces the need for fertilizer by 50%, and increases crop yield by 20%. Hasham founded his social enterprise “Solvify.org” to democratize his solution. In 2018, his startup won first prize at the Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware, where he also received an $11,000 grant used to pilot Solvify with 200 farmer families. That same year, Hasham was invited to the Quarter Zero Summer Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, where he and his team won the Most Innovative Startup award. Hasham is currently exploring how to use Solvify to make lands affected by desertification, able to grow crops again. He wants to continue using chemistry to create sustainable solutions that achieve not only food and water security, but also meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.