Innovative ‘Oil Spill Clean-Up’ Idea Wins 1st Prize in S’pore Junior Water Prize Competition

A team of 3 students from the Diploma in Chemical Engineering (School of Applied Science) - Mohammad Mustafar B Abdul R, Leonard Tan Kai Sheng and Tan Jin Hao - clinched the 1st prize in the Singapore Junior Water Prize 2011 competition for transforming a humble natural fibre into a powerful adsorbent material.

Their project, "The Use of a Fibrous Sorbent for Oil Spill Cleanup", was praised by the judges for its high practicality and innovative features. The students investigated the use of natural fibres from trees to absorb crude oil under simulated open sea conditions with different intensities of rainfall as well as different extent of wave turbulence. The team reported that a particular type of fibre could adsorb crude oil up to 47 times its own weight, and up to 98% of the adsorbed oil could be recovered using compression load and centrifuge techniques. The reusability of the fibres was studied up to 17 cycles.

The team won S$5,000, a trophy and an all-expenses-paid trip to Sweden in August this year. They will represent Singapore in the prestigious international competition, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition.

Dion Khoo facilitated the students’ participation in the event. Congratulations to the staff and students and we wish them all the best for the competition in Stockholm!

Here’s what Mohammad Mustafar has to say about his participation in the international contest:

"We were competing with 54 other finalists from 28 different countries! The competition was held over 3 days. There were 3 rounds with 3 different panels of international judges. Some of the projects were very high-tech and some were ‘cheap’ but effective. Everyone shared the same goal, which was to save the environment and the world by solving our water problems.

This experience made us realise that in Singapore, we are blessed to have the NeWater system and a good water management system. We also had the opportunity to talk to the PUB representatives from Singapore, who went to Stockholm to support us.

Although we did not win this competition, we were glad that we had made it this far. We are happy to be given this opportunity to represent Singapore in such a prestigious competition. We would like to thank our supervisor, Mr. Dion Khoo for his patience and guidance throughout the process and other lecturers who contributed to this success!”


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