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Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
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Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
Green Fertiliser…. Ready for the Market
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) revolutionary designer fertiliser is just about ready for the market and once the product is launched it will herald a new era of improved yields from cash crops.
Known as OneBAJA, the evolution and design of this fertiliser has broken technology barriers in the making of fertiliser and is drawing in attention from global partners.
Brewing in the labs of UTP since 2011, the unique feature of OneBAJA is the fact that the technology enables the fertiliser to be tailored to deliver the exact required nutrients needed at each step of growth for the specific crop, hence the term "designer fertiliser".
Feed the right nutrients at the right growth period, the development and maturity of the crops would be optimised and yields would naturally be better. Formulated with slow-release technology, the project which was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education has also commendably won the Malaysia Technology Expo Gold Medal for the innovative marrying of electromagnetic and nanotechnology to produce green urea.
The project recently won a gold medal and the Best Invention Award by International Federation of Inventors' Association at the 2017 International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition.
It has also won a gold medal and the Best Green Invention Award at the SIRIM Invention, Innovation and Technology Expo 2017.
The 70% uptake of nutrients in this designer fertiliser reduces leaching process, hence greener in nature while also allowing for a more efficient system compared to dependence on the human hand for fertilising efforts.
The brain behind OneBAJA is Professor Dr Noorhana Yahya who is leading UTP team in a collaborative effort, which also saw the participation of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
"We are effectively ready for commercialisation and are looking at upscaling field tests. OneBAJA has been successfully tested in some rice fields in Selangor," explained Noorhana.
"While we are certain and confident that it will be successful, with results that were proven in our labs, it does take about two years for oil palm and rice yields to be realised, and we are confident that it will produce the desired results as proven in our trials."
She adds that they are looking optimistically at an average 20% increase in yield.
Meanwhile, it has attracted the attention of potential manufacturing partners from Australia and the USA who plan to collaborate with UTP on upscaling the prototype.
"This will take UTP innovation and research product into the global arena, especially in keeping with our target Towards Global Prominence," said Noorhana.
"We also have interested parties who are keen to help us promote the product to European and South American markets," she continued, adding that all that is left to do in this instance is the branding and pricing.
While the idea for OneBAJA was initially mooted with the primary purpose of increasing padi yields, this technology would be applicable to various crops across the board. This would not only increase crop yields but she said the increase would also result in more optimal use of land that is available for cultivation.
The first of its kind, OneBAJA has tremendous global potential. Being a green product from the manufacturing activities right through to the final product, it augurs well for a future where environmental concerns would be high on the list of priorities. Additionally the increased yields, both in terms of quality and quantity, would pave the way for the increase in food production and hence alleviate some of the concerns of food security as the world faces the dichotomy of arable land versus development requirements.
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