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Inaugural lecture of Professor Geoffrey Simate

When: Wednesday, 02 November 2022 - Wednesday, 02 November 2022
Where: Senate Room
Start time:17:00


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Waste: A problem or a resource?

Population growth, coupled with massive growth in the production and consumption of goods and services, has resulted in increasing volumes, varieties, and complexity of both municipal and industrial wastes. Several working definitions for wastes exist and are used for practical purposes in society. Generally, waste is any material or substance in whatever form, whether solid, liquid or gaseous, hazardous or non-hazardous, organic or inorganic that has lost its primary value and is disposed of, intended to be disposed of, or required to be disposed of by the provisions of national and international laws. Undoubtedly, waste is one of society’s biggest challenges today, and if not addressed adequately or handled correctly, waste can have detrimental effect on the natural environment with devastating results that pose threat to human health. Quite often, waste is considered as a problem that needs to be quickly disposed of, but there is currently a paradigm shift that is realigning waste not to be perceived as a problem. This lecture seeks to illustrate that waste does not necessarily represent worthless, harmful, and disposable material, but can alternatively be considered as a useful resource that can be reused, recycled, and recovered in multiple beneficial ways. In this regard, selected typical examples of resource generation from all the three forms of waste (solid, liquid and gas) based on my research will be explored in the lecture, including (1) production of adsorbents from agricultural solid waste, (2) production of activated carbon fibers and carbon nanotubes from spent ion exchange resins, (3) the generation of various products such as water, acid, and coagulants from acid mine drainage, and (4) the production of carbon nanomaterials from carbon dioxide and coal pyrolysis.

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