Indonesia’s top female Researchers win recognition

Indonesia’s women scientists are on a mission to improve human lives. They are creating various innovations, from water purifiers and anti-viruses to alternative energy sources and standard methods for authenticating specialty Indonesian coffee.

Anawati from Sumbawa University of Technology (UTS) in West Nusa Tenggara is the creator of a portable water purifier to tackle water problems on Sumbawa Island.

She is concerned with the situation that forces local people to consume inappropriate water because of a limited access to clean water.

The low rainfall and long dry season in Sumbawa, coupled with indications that the groundwater is contaminated by heavy metals and acid as a result of extensive mining activities, have caused the clean water scarcity.

With her knowledge and skills, she jumps in to help solve the problem.

“For me, science is a way to solve problems. I used to work on similar research in Japan and I think I can apply that to solve Sumbawa’s water issue,” said Anawati, who completed her doctorate degree at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

A stationary water purifier that was based on reverse osmosis could provide a solution to the problem, but such a method, she said, was too expensive.

Thus, she added, it was necessary to develop a portable water purifier with an affordable price.

“The portable purifier is the size of regular bottle of water and contains several layers of purifier: activated carbon, resin to eliminate the rancid smell and membranes with various pore sizes to filter the heavy metals and acidic chemicals,” Anawati said.

Currently, Anawati and her team are developing the membranes through the fabrication of ceramic anodic alumina oxide (AAO) using five-step chemical methods.

“People can just fill the bottle with any kind of fresh water and immediately drink it without having to boil it first,” she said.


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