Please tell us about yourself
For his PhD work in Chemical Engineering, Kapil was granted a provisional patent. Based on his research outcomes, a new product that enables the cleaning of wastewater using a carbon nanotube-infused polymer composite membrane as a filtration medium is currently being developed for pilot-scale testing.
In 2015 Kapil was awarded a Green Talent. The jury was impressed by his outstanding academic record, his combination of practical knowledge and innovative thinking. During the Science Forum in Germany, Kapil had the opportunity to establish an inspiring scientific network with international experts in his field for future collaborations. In 2016 he will conduct his research stay in Germany.
What did you study? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
After graduating with a BSc in Chemical Engineering (2007) from the University of the Witwatersrand, for his Masters’ degree in Chemical Engineering (2010) Kapil focused on the production of CNTs (Direct conversion of coal into carbon nanotubes) from greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane). CNTs have come to be known as the wonder material of the 21st century with a wide range of applications. Kapil had also studied for six months for an international diploma in Brewing and Distilling (United Kingdom) during this period.
Tell us about your work
Back in Johannesburg, he wrote his PhD thesis, the results of which contributed to the advancement of inventive technologies for economically feasible CNT synthesis. As his thesis work was very thorough and comprehensive, Kapil has been granted a provisional patent for his technology. Based on the research outcomes, a new product is currently being developed for pilot-scale testing. It is a module that enables the cleaning of wastewater using a CNT-infused polymer composite membrane as the filtration medium. The planned application would serve to mitigate environmental challenges; especially for the petrochemical, metallurgical and pharmaceutical industries, where large quantities of oil-containing wastewater are produced. Kapil has been awarded with national and international scholarships, prizes and awards for his academic record and research projects. He has also diligently published his research results in prestigious, international peer-reviewed journals.
The jury applauded Dr Kapil Moothi’s track record of successful research and his combination of practical knowledge and innovative thinking in his current project(s). They believe that participation in the Green Talents Forum will give him fresh ideas, collaboration opportunities and new momentum for the research challenges ahead.
How does your research benefit the community?
With the results of his PhD, Kapil has contributed to the development of innovative technologies for economically viable nanotechnology applications in his country. Kapil is currently developing new products to improve sustainable water treatment in South Africa.
A major challenge in South Africa, that Kapil is aware of, is the one of dealing with Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). This problem can be found in many South African mines. The need to purify such polluted acid mine wastewater in an environmentally sustainable manner is a pressing one for the country. In addition, the protection of public health and the conservation of water resources are of paramount importance. The novel step provided by his research would be the introduction of a new nanotechnology to help tackle the issue of AMD. Kapil also aims to educate the public about the positive benefits nanotechnology could have on their lives.