Muthia Zahra Mutmainnah, a UGM Agricultural Extension and Communication student, has taken home a Gold medal at the 2021 International Avicenna Youth Science Fair, a competition hosted by the International Avicenna Research Center (IARC) in collaboration with the Indonesian Young Scientist Association (IYSA).
Along with her team Jong Sumatranen Bond, which consists of students from various universities in Indonesia, Muthia is recognized for her work, Bioranit: Biohydrogen Rice Husk with Chitosan Composite Membrane Fuel Cell. The said students include Farrel Jonathan Vickeldo (Biomedical Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology), Nahla Akila Fikria (Pharmacy, Sriwijaya University), Adelia Putri (Biomedical Engineering, Sumatera Institute of Technology), and Abdul Khanafy (Mining Engineering, Sumatera Institute of Technology).
Muthia, as the team leader, explained the suboptimal management of rice husk waste underlies the team’s decision to propose the Bioranit. Through an in-depth literature review and discussion, the team found that rice husks have great potential to be a source of biohydrogen production, which in turn can generate laboratory-scale electricity through the use of PEM FC. The electrochemical device will use an alternative phosphorylated chitosan composite membrane from brown seaweed instead of the usual Nafion.
“Apart from being capable of generating electricity, Bioranit is way more affordable as it uses natural waste and organic membrane,” said Muthia on Thursday (2/12).
Muthia emphasizes the importance of time management and teamwork in the team’s recent success. Since the team consisted of students from different universities, all team members had to adapt to different schedules and ideas. Determination played a part in bringing them together and helping them achieve great results. In addition, Muthia hopes more students will research and develop organic agricultural waste as a source of biohydrogen.