Green solutions win approval

Congratulations: Prof Sumathi (left) and Dr Yamuna.

TWO teams comprising academicians from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) recently came away from an international invention competition with awards for their green solutions.

The 6th International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN) 2021 saw Prof Dr S. Sumathi, Assoc Prof Dr Mohammed J.K. Bashir, Assoc Prof Dr M. Yamuna and Dr M. Mathialagan – all of whom UTAR Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) academicians – winning two gold medals and two special awards during a virtual ceremony on Aug 28.

Prof Sumathi, Dr Bashir and Dr Yamuna gained recognition for their invention titled “EggSORB”, an eco-friendly sorbent made from eggshell waste generated from the egg cracking industry.

They received a gold medal and the International Special Award by Eurobusiness-Haller and Haller Pro Invention Foundation.

Citing global warming and solid waste as serious threats to the global environment, team leader Prof Sumathi said EggSORB is able to remove toxic gases such as sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide efficiently via adsorption.

“The production of EggSORB is simple, green and low-cost. It indirectly enhances recycling and reduces the landfilling of solid waste.

“EggSORB is biodegradable and the spent sorbent can be utilised as fertiliser or building material,” she said.

In addition to the win, Prof Sumathi and Dr Yamuna scooped another gold medal and the Top 20 Best Invention Award for their project titled “ProGreenRubber”, which they worked on with Dr Mathialagan.

Team leader Dr Yamuna said ProGreenRubber is reclaimed rubber from vulcanised waste products, such as latex gloves and tyres.

“ProGreenRubber can be categorised into natural rubber, nitrile butadiene rubber and styrene-butadiene rubber grades.

“Our reclaiming technology is greener compared to the existing technology because it can be done at ambient temperature, no solvents are used, and plant-based chemicals and phthalate-free plasticisers are applied,” she said.

She added that compared to rubber powders in the market, ProGreenRubber can be compounded again like virgin rubbers with compounding ingredients such as fillers and vulcanising agents or blended with other polymers to produce products such as rubber mats, rethread tyres, safety boots and O-rings.

On receiving the awards, Prof Sumathi expressed pride at the achievement.

“These awards are very meaningful to us as the products we developed at UTAR have received recognition from scientific experts worldwide.

“This win has motivated us to explore more research ideas on the reutilisation of waste,” she said.

iCAN is an event held in Toronto, Canada, for inventors worldwide. The past five editions from 2016 to 2020 featured participants from 81 economies.

iCAN 2021 was organised by the Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills, and supported by Innovation Initiative Co-operative Inc, the International Federation of Inventors’ Associations, and the World Invention Intellectual Property Associations.

This was the second year in which the event was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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