MIRI: Three teams comprising academics and students of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) bagged two gold and a silver medal for their projects showcased at the recent Unimas Innovation and Technology Exposition 2019 (InTEX19) held in Kuching. Chemical engineering Associate Professor Mubarak Mujawar and chemical engineering student MH Nazmi won a gold medal for their project entitled ‘Magnetic Palm Kernel Biochar Potential Route for Heavy Metals and Phenol Removal from Wastewater.’ According to Mubarak, heavy metals such as lead can find their way into wastewater from industrial activities and can be hazardous at high levels.
He said unlike organic compounds, lead is non-biodegradable and must be removed from water as it could become a serious threat to public health. He added that researchers had for decades been developing highefficiency and cost-effective adsorbents for lead removal, such as metal oxides, modified activated carbons, resins and gels. Mubarak and team’s novel solution also explored using biomass derived from oil palm solid waste as an alternative adsorbent. They found that by introducing magnetic biochar to a commercial sorbent through chemical co-precipitation, the sorbent can be effectively separated by magnetic separation methods.
Also winning a gold medal was a project entitled ‘Novel Secure Time-based QR Smart Lock System Framework’ by electrical and computer engineering senior lecturer Dr Wong Wei Kitt, lecturer Dr Filbert Hilman Juwono and electrical and computer engineering postgraduate student Basil Andy Lease. Their innovative concept involves providing a secure e-access that could be an enabler for various applications such as a secure time-encrypted ‘OTP-QR’-based digital key smart lock system and a novel encrypted scanning method to configure smart locks for temporal pass, check-in, check-out and other smart feature configuration settings. Winning a silver medal were chemical engineering lecturer Dr Tan Yie Hua, Mubarak and chemical engineering student Ray Vern Quah for their project on ‘Biodiesel Synthesis using Magnetic Biochar Catalyst.’
InTEX19 was organised by the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Centre (RIEC) at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) as part of the university’s ongoing research and innovation initiatives. More than 250 different projects and products were showcased during the two-day event. Curtin Malaysia’s pro vice-chancellor, and chief executive Professor Jim Mienczakowski said he was pleased that the university was given the opportunity to participate in InTEX19 and to have done so well in the project showcases. Curtin Malaysia participated as an event partner and exhibitor at the invitation of Unimas, with which it has had a longstanding formal partnership since 2013.