HIGHLIGHTS OF GREATER WORKS
HIGHLIGHTS OF GREATER WORKS
A special and interesting research needs much publicity and attention. One of such initiative is by DR. Kwakye-Awuah, a senior lecturer of the physics department and his team. There are a group of 15 comprising of lecturers, PHD and MPHIL students. Below is a gist of what Dr. Awuah share with us.
Firstly and foremost, he made the point that the project is not official and the aim of the group is to look into zeolites, its manufacturing processes and application. Dr. Awuah defined zeolites as microscopic alumina-silicate mineral used as commercial filter, absorbent and catalyst. He also came the explanation that; zeolites always have a silica or aluminum in the middle and its bordered by oxygen at all angles. It also has a tetrahedral shape and pores and it corners. The shape of zeolites are simply like that of a ‘sponge’ The surface of the zeolites are negatively charge. The anti-microbial silver to good when formed with zeolites to kills microorganisms but are not harmful to humans. Zeolites are also used for fluid catalytic cracking. Used for refinery for hydro dewaxing, isomerization and also for reforming. Zeolites can also be used to treat refinery waste water and crude oil waste water. The sulphantant zeolite can be used to separate the crude oil that mixes with water during drilling offshore or onshore. Again, zeolites can be used to reduce the fumes from the exhaust of cars.
Dr. Awuah also threw light on the policies of the group. Some of these policies are;
- Each student undertaking a project in zeolite must do us with a new mechanism or procedure of manufacturing the zeolite and therefore, two students can’t use one manufacturing process.
- Each student must also produce the zeolite to be used in a new application.
Also, he explained the forms of zeolites. There are the natural and synthetic forms. The natural form of zeolites are mined and they formed within 50 years in rocks at mountainous location. There are about 40 types of natural zeolite. The natural zeolites are not pure and it is very difficult and time consuming to modify them. South Africa, Jordan, Iran, USA, Cuba, Mexico are some of the countries that have a deposition of zeolites. The synthetic zeolites are manufactured in the laboratory with either rice husk or reagents or a combination of both. They are purer than the natural because they’re produced with specifications. They are about 160 types The synthetic zeolites is expensive compared to the natural but Dr. Awuah explained that he and his team has come up with the idea of using caoline (clay) and reagent to produce zeolites at a moderate price or rate.
Furthermore, he talked about the successes of the exposure to zeolites. Dr. Awuah and his group has able to produce about ten (10) zeolites in unique process and that is the novelty of the group and the application are done in different area. Some of the applicants are;
- They have also used it the manufacturing of soil fertilizers.
- They have successfully used zeolites to clean dirty engine oils and the aftermath was even more cleaner than before
- They also used zeolites to desalinate sea water. That is to extract the salt component in the water.
- Again, they have zeolites to separate ammonia and arsenic from sample mineral water waste to levels that are below the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana.
- They have successfully used zeolites to refrigerate. That is, they used zeolites to produce ice and that can be used as a refrigerator.
Dr. Awuah also talked about one of his students trying to use zeolites to produces electricity. Also, he and his zeolites team have produced about ten (10) zeolites from bauxite and caoline. This development is novel in the world of zeolites research. And it is not harmful to be in physical contact with zeolites. They are just hydroscopic, that is, they absorb lots of water.