A UKZN chemical engineering graduate, Mr Stuart Woolley, was chosen from students around the world to participate in a summer school in Singapore which examined water-related problems facing mankind.

The Global Alliance of Technological Universities, or GlobalTech, held its summer camp at the Nanyang Technological University.

The 24 students from 10 different countries had a busy time table at the two-week camp. In the mornings they attended lectures by international experts from GlobalTech Universities on new water treatment technologies and water management techniques and policies while in the afternoons they went on site visits to modern water treatment facilities and water management facilities in various areas in Singapore.

In the final days of the camp, they took part in a laboratory-based competition where they were put into groups tasked with constructing two portable devices - one using membrane technology and the other non-membranous technology - which could be utilised as water-purification devices in a natural disaster scenario.

The feasibility of the devices were judged on the criteria of how easy the devices were to operate, the rate at which drinking water was produced and the quality of the water.

Woolley’s group was judged to have produced the best water filtration devices overall and declared winners of the competition

The students’ work was later showcased at the 4th GlobalTech Workshop on Challenges and Solutions for Sustainable Water Management in Urban Centres. The GlobalTech Summer Camp and GlobalTech Workshop coincided with the International Water Week in Singapore, which provided the students with opportunities to attend world-class seminars and to interact with experts in the industry.

Woolley is currently studying for his masters in chemical engineering at UKZN and is involved with the Pollution Research Group’s research into the Bill & Melinda Gate’s Foundations’ Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

Woolley said he applied to attend the Global Tech Summer Camp as an opportunity to further his education and experience in water purification technologies and management, knowing the knowledge he gained would be invaluable in his MSc research.

When asked of his impressions of Nanyang Technological University and Singapore, Woolley said ‘NTU is the largest engineering college in the world and attracts a staggering amount of money in research grants. As a result they are at the forefront of technological research and have some extremely bright people there, so it is an extremely exciting institution to be involved with. As for Singapore, think of “Durban”, with summer all year round and several billion Rands pumped into infrastructure and development. It’s an amazing city.’

More importantly though, knowledge of water treatment technologies, water management techniques and sustainable development policies are in desperate need in Africa and Woolley hopes that the knowledge he gained in Singapore and the connections he made there will pay dividends for him when he enters the industry.

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