Rice waste-base fuel cell wins a Gold at Avicenna Youth Science Fair

Rice waste-base fuel cell
Muthia Zahra Mutmainnah and her team, presenting their work at the 6th International Avicenna Youth Science Fair in Iran. Photo: UGM

Yogyakarta, IO – Muthia Zahra Mutmainnah of University Yogyakarta’s Class of 2020 Agricultural Training and Communications Department and her team won a Gold Medal in the 6th International Avicenna Youth Science Fair, Iran, in the Environmental Science category. The competition, with 408 participants from 12 countries, was held by International Avicenna Research Center (“IARC”) in cooperation with the Indonesian Young Scientist Association (“IYSA”).

The competition started in August, with the stages being Submission of Abstraction, Creation of Scientific Writing, Finalist Announcement, and Finalists’ Presentation. The gold winning team, Jong Sumatranen Bond (“JSB”), has Muthia as Head, with Farrel Jonathan Vickeldo (Biomedical Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology), Nahla Akila Fikria (Pharmacy, Sriwijaya University), and Adelia Putri and Abdul Khanafy (Biomedical Engineering and Mining Engineering of Sumatra Institute of Technology, respectively) as members. JSB’s submission was a paper titled “Bioranit (Bio-hydrogen Rice Husk with Chitosan Composite Membrane Fuel Cell)” under the guidance of Yuhan Farah Maulida, S.P., M.AAPDA.

As quoted by Ugm.ac.id on Saturday (04/12/2021), Mutia, as the Head, reported that their paper, “Bioranit”, was inspired by the problem of rice husk waste, which the farming community has not found any way to deal with. After in-depth literature study and intense consultation with her team, Mutia discovered great potential in rice husks as a source of bio-hydrogen. This gas can later serve as a laboratory-scale source of electrical energy using PEM FC.

Mutia went on to explain that her team modified the membrane of the PEM FC electro-chemical device by using phosphorated brown seaweed as its material. “The primary advantages of our device are affordability and environmental friendliness. Bioranit is an affordable solution, one that uses natural waste to generate hydrogen, which in itself is environmentally friendly, and our organic membrane is both cheaper and environmentally friendlier than the nafon membrane people generally use,” she said.

Muthia hopes that her team’s research will inspire more students to study agricultural organic waste, as they have much potential to develop as sources of bio-hydrogen. “The most important things we learned from this competition is how to cooperate in a team and manage time in a very efficient manner. The JSB contains five students from different fields in different universities, each with different time tables and activities and responsibilities. Therefore, we needed to have a coordinated effort and powerful intent to integrate our individual ideas, schedules, and thoughts to make sure that our work is watertight and that we might present it properly,” she said. (est)