Muscat – Razan Hamad al Kalbania, an innovator from Oman, clinched the grand prize at the Korea International Women’s Innovations Exposition (KIWIE). Her creation, an eco-friendly chemical compound – serves as a high-quality shield capable of reducing the intensity of X-rays. The compound is also user-friendly and cost-effective to produce.
Razan’s achievement is particularly noteworthy given that her innovation stood out among 353 entries from over 18 countries. She explained that her creation integrates lycopene, an antioxidant naturally found in red and pink fruits, into an oil-based paint.
“The unique production method ensures the beneficial properties of lycopene remain intact,” Razan said. She further explained that the paint’s X-ray absorption rate could be adjusted based on the lycopene concentration. “What’s more, the process makes use of discarded or overripe tomatoes,” she added.
Razan’s groundbreaking innovation – creating a natural compound to shield X-rays – is a global first. She highlighted the paint’s effectiveness, saying it absorbs 97% of X-rays. Additionally, the compound is water and moisture-resistant, heat-resistant up to 95%, inhibits mold and bacterial growth, and is non-flammable.
Further emphasising the innovation’s practicality, Razan said, “Tomato mold can also be used to extract lycopene, making this solution less expensive than current lead-based alternatives.”
Razan’s attendance at the KIWIE was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth. Her X-ray shielding paint has garnered acclaim on various platforms, locally and internationally. Prior to the KIWIE, she won first place at the Falling Walls Lab Oman competition in November 2020, secured a silver medal at the Innovation Forum in Qatar, and won a gold medal at the Second Beirut International Innovation Exhibition.