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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS venture cleans up acid mine drainage
2015-07-06

The system that puts oxygen back into the water.

Photo: Supplied

South Africa is one of the most important mining countries in the world, beginning in the 1870s. Although the mining industry has been responsible for significant development and employment, it pollutes the environment and waters sources. Through the joint effort of a well-known mining company, the University of the Free State, and the Technology Innovation Agency (UFS/TIA) SAENSE Group, a new treatment for Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) has been developed.

The system treats the major contaminants found in acid mining wastewater effectively.  
 
The UFS remediation systems use a reservoir tank into which the AMD is pumped. The water then flows passively (without using energy) to the Barium Carbonate Dispersed Alkaline Substrate (BDAS) system. The metals and anions in the AMD react chemically with the barium carbonate and precipitate (form solids). The solids stay in the tank while the clean water is released.

The efficacy and applicability of the research was demonstrated on site in Belfast, Mpumalanga where the team constructed a pilot plant in July 2014. This patented technology has treated 1 814 400 litres of Acid Mine Drainage to date with an outflow water quality that satisfies the South African National Standards (SANS) 241:2006 & 2011 regulations for drinking water.   

Rohan Posthumus from the (UFS/TIA) SAENSE Group said: “At this stage, we do not recommend that the water should be used as drinking water, but certainly it can lower water usage in mines while finding application in dust suppression of washing processes. The team would like to complete a full characterisation of the final released water. There are currently no toxic by-products formed, and even very basic filtration can make the outflow drinking water.”

Prof Esta van Heerden’s research group from the Department of Microbial, Biochemical, and Food Biotechnology has been working on AMD research for some time, but the development of the BDAS system was started in 2013 by post-doctoral student, Dr Julio Castillo, and his junior researcher, Rohan Posthumus.

The data from the BDAS system have led to two publications in peer-reviewed journals as well as a registered patent.

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