Priyanka Bakaya

Laureate 2013

Priyanka Bakaya

USA
PK Clean
ENERGY & UTILITIES
ENVIRONMENT
PK Clean converts plastic waste into oil.

To start, let’s go back to the origins of the name PK Clean. The initials stand for Percy Kean, an Australian inventor who was like an extended member of Priyanka’s family. ‘He was always coming up with new technologies,’ Priyanka recalls. ‘He would show me oil in a jar and say “Look, I made this from waste!”’

Priyanka may not have understood the full process at the time, but the memory of his inventions remained. She grew up, left Australia for Stanford University and went to work for Lehman as an energy and research analyst in commodities: gas and oil. She was there in 2007, when Percy Kean died. And then oil prices doubled, which made her think back to Percy’s discoveries. ‘I felt sad his ideas had never been commercialised,’ she says. ‘I started looking more closely into his technologies and their commercial viability.’

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