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SA scientist receives prestigious Green Talents award

SA scientist receives prestigious Green Talents award

Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs

The Venda name ‘Aluwani’ when translated to English means to prosper. This is significant to note considering that Mr Aluwani Nemukula is the only South African to have been presented with the German funded Green Talents award, 2009.

This award is presented to outstanding young scientists conducting research in the field of environmental technology from around the globe. Mr Aluwani Nemukula will be travelling to Germany next month in order to formally accept his award.

The international “Green Talents” competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research will offer 15 chosen young scientists the opportunity to visit the environmental technology locations in Germany, establish new contacts and build networks with outstanding institutions such as RWTH Aachen University, Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance and companies such as Siemens. The young scientists will be given a platform to present their research work at the International Forum. Also, the 15 young scientists will meet the German Federal Research Minister, Annette Schavan.

Nemukula (aged 27) holds a Master’s degree in biochemistry and has begun his PhD work at the Centre for Water and Wastewater Technology in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, at Durban University of Technology (DUT). His research topic is the production of biodiesel from microalgae, specifically from hypersaline environments looking at photosynthesis rates and enzyme activity in order to enhance oil production. He works with a comprehensive team established at the Centre for Water and Wastewater Technology alongside his supervisor, Professor Faizal Bux. DUT’s Post Graduate Development and Support department and the National Research Foundation (NRF) have also been providing assistance to help Nemukula with his research.

“I am extremely delighted to have been given this opportunity to interact with great scientists at such a prestigious forum and to hear their advice on how I could incorporate new ideas that could improve my research. This, I will undoubtedly gather at the International forum,” said Aluwani Nemukula. His research work is an ongoing project and is part of a larger scaled project called the Bio-Prospecting of South African Indigenous Microalgae, in collaboration with the CSIR, Plant-Bio and Mangosuthu University of Technology, which is aimed at producing commercially viable oil for biodiesel production. The research team is currently in the process of up-scaling their laboratory scale findings to pilot scale at the Kingsburgh wastewater works in a project funded by eThekwini municipality.

Currently Nemukula is busy preparing for his week in Germany. “Aluwani has enormous potential to meet and exceed his desired objectives especially for his doctoral qualification. We, at Water and Wastewater Technology are extremely happy that he has been recognised by an International body,” said Professor Faizal Bux.

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