Page 115 - UCT Research Report 2011

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Signature theme
associated with this theme
Minerals to Metals
The Minerals to Metals project boosts research on minerals beneficiation – the sequence of processes that
produce metal from low-grade ore – from two main perspectives. The first focuses on underlying scientific areas
within minerals beneficiation.
The second – systemic – approach considers the entire extraction chain to improve process performance,
minimise the use of water and power, cut back on waste, and promote cleaner production options and
technologies, as well as inherently safer process design. The theme integrates research in the Centre for Minerals
Research, the Bioprocess Engineering Research Unit, the Crystallization and Precipitation Research Unit, and
the Environmental Research Group.
Professor J.P Franzidis E-mail: Web:
Centre of excellence
associated with this theme
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis, c*change
The DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis,
c*change, is hosted by the Centre for Catalysis
Research at the Department of Chemical
Engineering. In 2011, the c*change team comprised
49 postgraduate students (of which 80 percent were
from South Africa, with 55 percent and 67 percent
of the local student target being female and black,
respectively), nine postdoctoral researchers, and
nominally 25 academics from 15 research groupings
in 10 participating South African higher education
institutions. A total of 21 projects were funded
during the course of 2011, of which 13 were multi-
institutional and/or inter-disciplinary projects.
In addition, c*change has contributed funding for
proof-of-concept work on Direct Liquefaction of
Micro-algae Biomass, a so-called c*STAR Project
that forms part of a larger Micro-algae to Energy
initiative. The concept of a c*STAR Project is to
utilise the c*change network and resource capacity
to demonstrate proof-of-concept projects, with a view
to helping c*change and its members attract outside
interest or funding for technology development
The CoE has been awarded a SARChI Chair, which
is expected to boost the scientific output of the
centre. The Research Chair is located in the field of
preparation and characterisation of nano-materials
and will enhance various activities throughout
the centre. The centre embarked on an extensive
international search to find a suitable candidate, and
an appointment is expected to be made in 2012.
The centre’s strong involvement in the successful
development of teaching material for the new school
Grade 12 Physical Science syllabus was a highlight
in 2011. The new syllabus requires learners to study
the chemical industry in South Africa, with particular
emphasis on the manufacturing of petrochemicals
and synthetic fuels, chlor-alkali derivatives,
fertilisers and batteries. As such, c*change initiated
the compilation of a resource pack containing a
teacher’s guide, learner worksheets, videos,
animations and posters. Together with industrial
sponsorship for printing and distribution, and involving
18 organisations (universities, NGOs, education
departments and private sector organisations),
57 workshops were held nationally, attended by
2 000 teachers, with a total of 5 600 resource packs
being distributed to schools countrywide. The material
is available to the public on several websites.
c*change held its seventh annual Symposium in
November 2011 in Johannesburg and will be hosting
a c*change Autumn School and the c*change Syngas
Convention in 2012. c*change was also invited
to participate as a co-organiser of the European
Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) Summer
School in The Netherlands, a result of considerable
efforts in recent years to establish stronger
international relations.