Double joy for FEGT researchers

From left: Sarvini, Dr Yamuna and Shimalaa.

It was a day of double joy for two research teams from UTAR Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) to win a gold and silver medal respectively at the National Innovation and Invention Competition through Exhibition (iCompEx’17) held at the Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah (POLIMAS), Jitra, Kedah from 21 to 23 March 2017.

Organised by POLIMAS, the event saw the FEGT teams win in the category of Agriculture, Environment and Renewable Energy, also Electrical and Electronic. Both teams presented their winning inventions, in which one team won a gold medal and the other one won a silver medal.

The gold award-winning research project, titled “New Polymer/Graphene Oxide Membrane for Oily Waste Water Filtration”, aims to filter oily waste water up to 97% rejection rate of oil at high water flux compared to other conventional membranes. The membrane, known as NANOPolyGO membrane functions at all range of pH and it possess high mechanical strength after exposure to oily, acid and alkaline environment. The team comprised of advisor, the Head of the Department of Petrochemical Engineering Assoc Prof Dr M. Yamuna and two UTAR Petrochemical Engineering students S. Shimalaa and B. Sarvini.

From left: Dr Yamuna, Sarvini and Dr Lai.

Dr Yamuna said, “As part of the students’ final year project, students’ participation in the competition have given them an opportunity to gain exposure in the research field and experience to various new innovations. The competition was a platform for all innovators and inventors to present their inventions to the world.”

The other entry that bagged a silver medal was “Recovery of Gold from Electronic Waste through Electrostatic Technique” by the lecturer from the Department of Petrochemical Engineering Dr Lai Koon Chun and his student, also a Petrochemical Engineering student Saw Wen Shen. The research was done on one of the fastest growing waste streams, namely the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Dr Lai explained, “WEEE is an important subject not only from a standpoint of the protection of the environment, but also of the recovery of valuable materials. Comparing the metals in metal mines to metals in WEEE, it can be easily found that WEEE contains more rare metals and noble metals such as gold. This project is to recover these valuables by employing the electrostatic separation technique.”

One of the winners, S. Sarvini said, “We would like to thank our supervisor Dr Yamuna who has been always encouraging and guided us throughout the competition. The competition served as an important stage for us to discuss issues related to intellectual property which has eventually educated us more about patterns.” Dr Lai added, “All of us would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Dean of FEGT Assoc Prof Dr Yap Vooi Voon for the continuous support and encouragement given to participate in this event.”

Another winner, Shimalaa shared, “The research on NanoPolyGO membrane leads to the development of graphene based nanocomposite membrane for oily waste water filtration. The membrane is able to reject oil up to 97% rejection rate and exhibits high water flux at all pH range. We had joined the competition last year and we saw a total of 600 innovations were exhibited and that was what actually made us to join the competition this year round. The competition was a strategic platform for us to showcase our research and findings.”

The National Innovation and Invention Competition through Exhibition (iCompEx’17) is an annual competition designed specially to provide a platform for young researchers to present their innovations. The iCompEx’ 17 was the fifth in the series since it was first launched in 2013.

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