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Grantees Profile

Ngonye Keroletswe

Country (Nationality)


Grantee Title

Project: Sustainable Water Filtration Using Cellulose Based Membranes Derived From
Local Biomass

Grantee Description

Country of nationality:


Research area:

Water Filtration and Membrane Technology

Host Organisation & country:

Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), Botswana


The presence of contaminants in several water sources in Africa makes water unpalatable and significantly reduces the amount of clean safe water available for human consumption. Dr Keroletswe’s research will develop methods of making filtration membranes that can be incorporated into water filters to enable households and/ or communities to clean contaminated water for themselves thereby increasing their access to clean safe water.

Grantee Description

Dr Keroletswe is an ARISE fellow and a Researcher at Nanomaterials Division, Department of Natural Resources and Materials at Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) in Botswana. Dr Ngonye graduated in 2015 from the University of Botswana with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Her Ph.D. research focussed on extraction of secondary metabolites from medicinal plants, their bioactivity studies and synthesis of heterocycles with antimicrobial activities.

Dr Keroletswe’s research interests include among others tapping into indigenous knowledge systems to inform research in chemistry of medicinal plants and membrane technology where she develops protocols for making sustainable filtration membranes from natural polymers as well as chemical modification of polymers for application in water filtration. This is driven by her desire to improve human lives through science, impart knowledge onto young scientists, inspire female African children by demonstrating that a girl/woman is capable and to contribute to advancement of technology in Africa.

Project: Sustainable Water Filtration Using Cellulose Based Membranes Derived From  Local Biomass.

The project that Dr Keroletswe is researching on is focussed onto developing cellulose based water filtration membranes derived from abundant local biomass such as plants and animal excreta. The challenge with the current synthetic polymer membranes is that they are not only unsustainable (because of their non-renewability), but they are expensive and their waste cause environmental havoc that has adverse effect on natural ecosystems. Also, it has been difficult to upscale most of the membranes for treatment of large bodies of water for use by large communities. The protocols that Dr Keroletswe is developing will open a doorway for further research into the use of cellulose to other applications besides water filtration. Cellulose materials are viewed as the future of materials science. Thus, changing the size of cellulose from micron to nanoscale usher in attractive properties such as enhanced absorbent properties, high tensile strength, and elastic modulus, tuneable and gas impermeable of which may be of interest in other applications. Ngonye will chemically modify the extracted cellulose to target different water contaminants like toxic ions and salinity among others.