Cape Coast University develops local raw materials for water treatment
The Chemistry Department of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) has announced that it has developed potassium hydroxide from cocoa pod waste and the chemical is one of the raw materials used for producing potassium permanganate for water treatment.
Prof Francis Acquah, a lecturer at the department who said this at a press conference in Cape Coast, explained that the potassium hydroxide and manganese dioxide, which also abounds locally, are processed through electrolytic oxidation into potassium permanganate.
Prof. Acquah said by this development the department has made a major breakthrough and this would save the country huge amounts of foreign exchange that is used to import potassium permanganate.
He said the United States and China are the major producers of the chemical and that manganese dioxide occurs as mineral ore in some areas in the country including the Western, Central and Upper West regions.
Prof Acquah said apart from being used in treating water, potassium permanganate is also used by the pharmaceutical, textiles and tanning industries as well as chemical laboratories.
He said as a result the use of cocoa pod waste for the production of the chemical gives Ghana a comparative advantage and that the department would examine and determine the techno-economics of its production on a pilot scale.
Prof Acquah said the department needed funding to produce potassium permanganate on a large scale.
He said the project would bring about many benefits including employment generation on cocoa farms, additional income after post- harvest activities and the generation of new business ventures.
Prof. Acquah appealed for support from industries and the government to enable the production of the chemical on a larger scale.
He said the department was working out modalities to deal with environmental pollution and other sanitation problems in the country.
The Dean of the School of Physical Sciences, Prof Samuel Yeboah-Mensah, spoke about the huge foreign exchange spent on the importation of potassium permanganate and appealed to the government to provide more funding for the school to enable it carry out its work to avert the situation where its research findings would remain on the shelves.
The Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, congratulated the department on the achievement and echoed calls on industry and the government for support.
Also, a lecturer at the STRAYER University in the United States, Prof Kobina Amoo, on Thursday donated books, sports and hospital equipment, three trophies and five laptop computers to the UCC.
Prof. Amoo, an alumnus of the UCC, said this was the fifth time he was making such a donation and urged his colleagues to also support the university.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang expressed gratitude to Prof. Amoo and said the UCC alumni were playing a major role in the sustainability of the UCC’s performance.