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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Extraordinary Women: Prof Veruscha Fester

At CPUT research results are not confined to journals.

Researchers are thinking out of the box and using their research to develop products, devices and services that can contribute to the development of all spheres of South Africa.

One such researcher is Prof Veruscha Fester, who is based at the Flow Process and Rheology Centre.

Fester is one of CPUT’s leading female innovators and recently shared details of her groundbreaking work with the CPUT news:

You are one of a few female innovators at CPUT. Can you tell us more about your patent?

We are developing a one-step treatment reactor using locally developed nanopowders for treating textile wastewater. This treatment system offers an almost instantaneous removal of the colour from the water.  

This treatment system will not only be able to treat waste water to standard for disposal to municipal treatment systems, but to a standard suitable for re-use. If the water can be re-used, millions of litres of potable water will be saved.

We have already scaled up our laboratory prototype from 6L/hour to 72 L/hr. The next step is to get it to treat 1000L/hr or more and then an installation in industry. The interest shown in our technology (using a syringe filter and producing a few ml/min) at the CPUT Innovation Showcase in August 2015, encouraged us to quickly proceed with the development of a product.

What do you enjoy most about being a researcher?

I love the entire research process, the element of surprise and the endless opportunities to understand and discover new things, the excitement of finding answers to problems and guiding postgraduate students through the exciting journey of research. It simply leaves me astounded that I am able to add to science and engineering theory and practice in some way.

What do you attribute your success to?

Loving what I do - that is the driving force behind hard work and commitment.

I recognize the opportunities afforded me and I take time to be thankful for it and that motivates me to do well. I appreciate the government’s efforts to promote and train researchers to improve the wellbeing of our country. Having benefited from the training program, I want to make a contribution.

Do you have any words of advice for the generation of women researchers behind you?

In the field of engineering there is no male nor female, only projects completed successfully within time. It helps to know your strengths and your weaknesses. Most of all…recognize that you were born for a time such as this. There is a task that only you can do. Find it, and do it well, whether it pays or not or whether it brings fame or not.

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.