This engineering student from University of Greenwich may have turned the nations’ roads into anti-pollution machines “the equivalent of planting forests”.

Kamal Farid won an award for his remarkable invention of a special type of road surfacing that absorbs more carbon dioxide in the production and laying process than it creates.

The 24-year-old student came to the University of Greenwich as a structural engineer to study civil engineering, and now plans to stay in the UK after winning this award.

The Egyptian student won the £5,000 Enterprise Challenge award at the university and plans to take his invention further.

He said: “This can save billions on infrastructure spending while helping save our planet.

“It's very exciting and everything I have achieved is thanks to the support of my family.

“I owe them everything and hope I have made them proud. I promise them this is just the start.”

The invention, called the Negative Permeable Pavement Systems, works by using certain materials that absorb more carbon in the manufacturing process than the carbon emitted when paved.

That means by using Kamal's new material, more carbon dioxide is absorbed than produced, meaning in effect it achieves the same impact of lessening CO2 levels in the environment as trees do.

This material, which can be used as roads and pavements, also has the added benefit of being less expensive to produce and is more permeable, meaning flooding is reduced.

Kamal said: “This technology could therefore turn the pavement sector in the UK from one emitting CO2 to being carbon negative.

“The level of carbon absorbed per square meter is equivalent to the level absorbed by a medium sized tree over its 70 year lifespan.

“With the countless miles paved every day in the UK, CNPPS is able to turn the roads and pavements all over Britain into the equivalent of planting forests.

“"The support I received from the university, especially from the I3 Centre, was the main reason behind the success in turning the technical numbers and equations into a business plan.

"My mentor, Trevor Goul-Wheeker, was great, giving up his time to check my work and offer feedback to improve and move forward.

“I am hoping to set up meetings with investors who have shown interest. The prize money will go towards more testing and patenting the idea.”