Mexican students develop eco-friendly, versatile and competitive solutions

The way we live has affected the planet Earth enormously. There’s a lot of pollution, rising temperatures, water shortages, among other problems. It is time for older generations leave old polluting practices and adopt newer ones, and for younger generations to create solutions to stop harmful practices and maybe even revert some of the damage we’ve all done to our home.

With this in mind, two young students from the Querétaro campus of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), Maximiliano Cuellar Almaraz – a student of the third semester in a Business Creation and Development major – and Elisa Martínez – a fifth semester student majoring in Animation and Digital Art – developed a multipurpose paint made from nopal (prickly cactus) with a project they named “Ecopal.

The main idea was to create an organic paint that was friendly with the environment, made from the slime of nopal, limonene solvent and polystyrene, which also works for waterproofing,” said Cuellar during an interview with the ITESM communications division. “We have tested it on brick, wood, block and ceramic.

(Photo: Tecnológico de Monterrey)
Maximiliano Cuellar Almaraz y Elisa Martínez (Photo: Tecnológico de Monterrey)

Ecopal is a competitive product given that it is affordable and optimum. The project is one of the three finalists for the CEMEX–TEC award, in the category of “Innovation in Construction.” The award recognizes the development of proposals and projects of high impact in sustainable development; economic growth; and preservation of natural resources in Mexico.

Maximiliano has expressed his desire to win the contest, given that this could provide him with the opportunity to place the project within a business incubator. Because of this, the final stage of the contest, which will be held on October 1, 2015, is a crucial event for this creative duo.

As we have reported before, the nopal is a plant that with many uses and great potential to improve our lives while minimizing our environmental footprint. Nopales have been used as a base for bio-plastic, as an agent for sunscreen, as superfood and a source of clean energy.



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