Jan 2020

A girl's mission to save the planet

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Grade 12 pupil’s scientific research project has earned her a full bursary to study at a South African university of her choice.

Gcinani Mazibuko (18), from Bethamoya High School in Madadeni near Newcastle, impressed judges at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists with her Carbon Dioxide Limiter. The invention aims to reduce carbon dioxide by reacting it with potassium hydroxide (KOH).

KOH is used to manufacture some soft soaps and liquid soaps.Young Scientist Gcinani Mazibuko.

Mazibuko’s research shows how KOH has the potential to decrease carbon dioxide which is emitted when coal is burnt.

“Most industries these days use coal as fuel. Coal releases the most amount of carbon dioxide of all the fuels that are available,” Mazibuko explained.

She said the Carbon Dioxide Limiter works by reacting the carbon dioxide with KOH before releasing it into the atmosphere.

The project was inspired by a movie about penguins that live on ice and are affected by global warming.

The young scientist warned that if global warming is not halted, it will affect everyone because the scarcity of plants will have an impact on food which will affect the economy.

She said she conducted a number of experiments during her research project.

Mazibuko plans to study engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. She hopes the knowledge gained at the institution will help her develop her research even further.

“The project I presented at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists was at a basic level. I am hoping that in about two years’ time, when I have the right information and equipment, I can further my project so that it can be implemented by factories,” she said.

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