South African Teen Wins Google’s Prize

For her innovation, 16-year-old Kiara Nirghin wins a £38,000 scholarship with her orange peel invention that would fight South Africa’s droughts with fruit.

In Google’s Science Fair she used an orange peel to develop a cheap super-absorbent material that would help soil retain water further.

Kiara nirghin is a student from the Anglican Church’s St Martin’s High School in Johannesburg.

Before she discovered her invention worked, she created three experiments in 45 days where she developed and tested the “orange peel mixture” that would serve as an alternative to expensive and environment-unfriendly super-absorbent polymers (SAPs)

These included molecules found in orange peels and naturally occurring oils in avocado skins.

“The product is fully biodegradable, low-cost and has better water retaining properties than commercial SAPs. The only resources involved in the creation of the ‘orange peel mixture’ were electricity and time, no special equipment nor materials were required,” Ms Nirghin added in her online submission.

The Google Science fair is open to children aged 13 to 18. It focuses on encouraging innovation and solution-formulation and development in children.

Google awards winners of their science fairs with scholarships to help the children focus further with their ideas and studies to help society and the world.

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