MIDLANDS State University (MSU) lecturer Gift Mehlana has won a chemistry research award that seeks to identify young scientists with a penchant for the advancement of green chemistry.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Mehlana, who is chairperson for the Department of Chemical Technology, was presented with the award at the eighth IUPAC International Conference on Green Chemistry held in Thailand last month.
In a statement, MSU said the award also included a grant of US$25 000, which Mehlana will use for scientific research.
“The project set out to raise awareness among decision and policymakers, industrialists and the public at large, of the vast opportunities green chemistry offers to meet pressing societal needs,” MSU said.
“The award included a grant to the tune of US$25 000, which Dr Mehlana will use to carry out research on the conversion of carbon dioxide to useful chemicals.
“The research is being done in collaboration with fellow renowned scientists based at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, University of Cape Town and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.”
According to MSU, the project involves the synthesis of porous materials that will be used for the capture and catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to useful chemicals such as formic acid and methanol, and is meant to address environmental concerns, scenarios inevitably more threatening to low and middle-income countries.
“Furthermore, it will also provide organic starting materials for the chemical industry in countries devoid of fossil oil resources,” the higher learning institution said.
Mehlana is a recipient of other global accolades, including the African-German Network of Excellent Sciences Award in 2015 and the International Centre for Diffraction Data Award in 2013.