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Thursday, 23 April 2020

Sanitiser project set in motion

INNOVATION: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environments’ Chemical Engineering Department to produce sanitisers to ensure that high levels of hygiene are maintained with quality products to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on our campuses. INNOVATION: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environments’ Chemical Engineering Department to produce sanitisers to ensure that high levels of hygiene are maintained with quality products to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on our campuses. https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-putting-alcohol-on-cloth-3914133/

The shortage of sanitisers in retail shops, as well as a spike in the price of the product by some stockists, have prompted the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment to produce sanitisers for use during and after the lockdown period. 

This project is set to benefit the entire CPUT community and visitors. Project coordinator and researcher, Prof Tunde Ojumu from the Chemical Engineering Department, said the university has about 33 000 students and about 3000 staff members who will be needing large quantities of sanitisers when they fully return to campus.

“As an institution with the technical know-how, as well as the equipment and facilities required, it made sense for the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environments’ Chemical Engineering Department to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19.

“In addition, it is clear that the virus will linger in the community long after the lockdown. There is much that we can do as a community to protect each other from the pandemic. The production of sanitisers is one way of saying, ‘we care’,” Ojumu said.

He works with project leader/researcher Tafirenyika Madzimbamuto; Researcher, Prof Mahabubur Chowdhury; Technical staff, Alwyn Bester; Technical/Procurement staff, Hannelene Small and Coordinator: Non-Technical, Luvuyo Kakaza. The team is aiming to produce 1 000 litres per month (50% hand sanitisers and 50% surface sanitisers). “We need to ensure that high levels of hygiene are maintained with quality products to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on our campuses,” Ojumu remarked.

The product will be sent for the South African Bureau of Standards testing and approval. The team also plans on getting the product onto the shelves in retail stores but that does not mean that they will not support communities who cannot afford them.

The team appealed for interdepartmental concerted efforts from the whole of CPUT. If any department has a part they can play in support of this project, they are encouraged to contact the team involved and offer their input and their skills in ensuring that this project reaches its fullest potential and maximum impact.

“This will make the name of CPUT even greater in the eyes of the communities that surround us and all stakeholders that rely on us... The CPUT community at large must embrace the era of local production of what we need. Hands-on activities are the bedrock of innovation,” Ojumu stated.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce