A Tea Light Candle and the Global Waste Problem

Speaker: Dr. Ali Rangwala, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Date: Mar 29, 2019; Time: 2:30pm Location: BPB 131

Abstract: In 2012, the World Bank estimated that each person living on planet earth produces approximately 1.2 kg waste per day amounting to 1.2 billion tons per year. By 2025 this number is expected to reach a staggering 2.2 billion tons, which raises the fundamental question:

What is and what happens to waste?

Most of the world’s population lives in developing countries where waste collection services do not work or are non-existent, and domestic burning of waste is a frequent disposal technique. Further, in many developing countries, even when waste is moved to dump sites, it is not uncommon for the material to be burned by open, uncontrolled fires.

In short, fire is the primary mode of waste disposal.

Fire provides volume reduction and prevents disease, but inefficient combustion brings its own hazards in the form of toxic/noxious gasses. In this talk I will discuss the work we have been doing at WPI related to burning hazardous waste cleanly and efficiently. More importantly, I will discuss the inception of the project, which started by observing the burning of a tea light candle and extended to a multi million-dollar effort fueled by students like you!

Biographical Sketch: Ali S. Rangwala is a professor in the department of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) (2006 – present). He has a BS in Electrical Engineering, from the Government College of Engineering, Pune, India (2000), an MS in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (2002), and a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, San Diego (2006). Professor Rangwala’s research interests are in the broad areas of environment, industrial fires, and explosion safety.


Published: March 22, 2019

Categories: Past Seminars

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