Thursday, 10 February 2022

CPUT to host SA/Japan project

LEADERSHIP:  Chemical Engineering Professor, Tunde Ojumu will be the leader of the SA/Japan project. LEADERSHIP: Chemical Engineering Professor, Tunde Ojumu will be the leader of the SA/Japan project.

The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment is part of a SA/Japan project, valued at R60 million, which include the cost of Analytical Equipment and a Pilot plant – all  of which will be installed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at CPUT’s Department of Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering Professor, Tunde Ojumu will be the leader of this project. Due to Ojumu’s involvement in Fly Ash Beneficiation research, CPUT was awarded the opportunity to host one of the 2020 Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) projects titled: Development of a carbon recycling system towards a decarbonised society by using mineral carbonation.

SATREPS is a Japanese initiative that is implemented by JICA and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). Its mandate through international cooperation and partnership are to:

  • Promote Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Address global issues and advance Science, and
  • Develop capacity.

The South Africa consortium that is involved in this project are: CPUT, University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town, Council for Geosciences and industrial partners, PPC Cement, ReMacon, CDEL and Cement and Concrete SA. “The long term value of this opportunity was immediately recognised by our Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, Prof Marshall Sheldon and the DVC, Dr David Phaho, who provided unflinching support, guidance and resources for CPUT to engage with the partners on such a high-level project,” Ojumu enthused.

“It’s usually a good feeling to know that your colleagues, and in this case senior colleagues believe in your research activities and leadership over the years. All the SA researchers involved in this project unanimously agreed that I should lead the project.”

In a nutshell, the project aims to reduce process-related CO2 emissions from the cement and concrete industries. Ojumu said: “Our strategy for achieving this is through the development of carbon recycling systems, including resource recycling loops. These include carbon/material recycling systems using a proposed mineral carbon capture and utilisation (MCC&U) technology in the concrete and cement industries in South Africa. On this basis, we can make strides towards the achievement of a circular economy based on a decarbonised society.”

The project is the result of a partnership between South Africa and the Japanese government. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) is funding the running cost of this project. Reflecting on the yields of this project, Ojumu said: “The benefits of a cleaner environment accrue to the whole South African society. But, more specifically, the concrete and cement industries through an improved image with regards to the impact of their technology on the environment. It would be of tremendous benefit for our country as well because our demolished concrete waste can be also be repurposed for carbonated products, and our CO2 emission minimised.”

Ojumu added that the acquisition of this state-of-the-art analytical equipment will boost the research capacity, “not only in Chemical Engineering Department but the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, as well as Faculty of Applied Sciences”. He said the project will also contribute  to the development of human capacities in the form of staff training and postgraduate students in Carbon capture/sequestration and materials development, which are important areas of Environmental Science and Engineering- a specialisation of Chemical Engineering. “This project will provide opportunity for training our students at Master’s and Doctoral level, thereby building human capacity for our Country.”

The South African researchers that put the proposal together are: Prof Ojumu, Jochen Petersen, Leslie Petrik, Dr Ravi Vadapalli and Dr Henk Coetzee, however, Ojumu took a leading role in putting the proposal together and he submitted it through to the DSI.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce