DUT and JICA to host the SATREPS technology transfer workshop

Published Mar 15, 2022


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology (IWWT) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will be hosting the SATREPS “Production of Biofuels from Algal Biomass” Technology Transfer hybrid event on Thursday, 17 March 2022.

The workshop will be held at the Protea Hotel by Marriot, uMhlanga and also online, via MS Teams from 09h00 to 12h00. There will also be a site visit at Kingsburgh Wastewater Treatment Plant from 13h30 to 15h00.

This joint research project is in collaboration with eThekwini Municipality, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in South Africa. Counterparts in Japan also playing a vital role in the project include Nagoya University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and Aichi Shukutoku University.

This project is supported by the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development Program (SATREPS), which is funded by JICA and co-funded by Japan Science and Technology (JST) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), South Africa.

IWWT’s Director, Prof Faizal Bux, indicated that DUT is the first in Africa to develop technology for the large-scale application of producing bio-fuels from microalgae grown on wastewater. He said this project contributes directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and circular economy, which is imperative in terms of promoting green energy.

“The Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology (IWWT) at DUT has been involved in algae biomass beneficiation research for the last 15 years. The algal demonstration plant at Kingsburgh Wastewater Treatment Plant in the eThekwini Municipality was constructed in 2010 with a focus on the production of biofuels from algae grown on wastewater. In 2016, IWWT formed a partnership with the Japanese to develop a technology package for full-scale applications,” explained Prof Bux.

The project is the development of a cost-effective process for the production of biofuels from microalgae as a step towards commercialisation and the development of the renewable energy industry.

“The objectives of the project were to increase lipid accumulation in algae cultivated in wastewater, develop efficient technologies to harvest biomass and extract lipid, produce fertilizer products (agrimat) with algae residues after lipid extraction, and develop a business model based on these technologies.

“The objectives of the workshop are to increase the public, industries, and other stakeholders’ awareness of the project and share the new knowledge/technologies for the further advance of science and technology. The workshop will serve as the official handover of the technology from the Japanese to South African partners. This will also serve as a cross-disciplinary platform for industry-research interaction in this important field,” said Prof Bux.

Prof Bux highlighted that the event would showcase the strides made by the University in moving projects from basic research to applied scale at the multinational level.

“Most importantly, the project contributed to human capacity development and the establishment of strategic research links between the participating South African and Japanese teams and institutions, which resulted in generating knowledge and technologies for the conservation and utilisation of natural resources.”