SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair Grant
Re-inventing the Face of Agriculture
Transforming Waste into Wealth with UPM's Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. Mohamed Thariq Bin Haji Hameed Sultan
Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. Mohamed Thariq Bin Haji Hameed Sultan is a Professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), and currently the Director of UPM Press. He was awarded a SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair Grant for AY 2021-2022 in recognition of his contributions to agricultural technology and innovation and is UPM's 10th awardee of the grant since its inception in 2012-2013.
Technology and innovation have been Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan's expertise since he started his career. He is a Professional Engineer registered under the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), a Professional Technologist (PTech) under the Malaysian Board of Technologists, and a Charted Engineer (CEng) with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers United Kingdom. Upon graduating with his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, he started working for a consulting company to gain experience in the field, management, and design. His background in technology and innovation also includes working in many industries such as AIRBUS, Malaysian Airlines Berhad, and Tan Choong Motors.
Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan pursued his graduate studies with an MSc in Aerospace Engineering at UPM and then his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. He then entered UPM to share his knowledge and experiences with the next generation of inventors and innovators. Before his post as Director of UPM Press, Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan was also the Director of Aerospace Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Head of the Laboratory of Biocomposite Technology (BIOCOMPOSITE), Institute of Tropical Forestry and Forest Product (INTROP) at the university. He was also the main reference officer for the collaboration between UPM and Proton, a Malaysian automotive company.
Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan's research interests include Hybrid Composites, Advance Materials, Structural Health Monitoring, and Impact Studies. Because of his contributions in innovation and technology, he was also appointed as an International Lead Consultant for Experimental & Computational Analysis of Composite Structures by Aerospace Research Centre (ARC) Sudan and was involved in multi-million research projects locally and internationally.
Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan's research has produced more than 260 International journal papers and 15 books. Through the years of working in the academic field and teaching both undergraduate and post-graduate students, he believes that his attitude, skills, and knowledge have developed because of the diversity of his teaching environment, which provides both fulfillment and challenges along the way. Ultimately, he sees all these experiences as something that contributed greatly to his professionalism.
For over 16 years of teaching and research, Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan considers his work on transforming agricultural waste into wealth as his greatest contribution to society. An example of this is his research on turning pineapple leaves into fibers to develop a technology that will uplift farmers' socio-economic status. Testament to his relentless pursuit for innovation, he was awarded with the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship (LIF) by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAENG), United Kingdom (UK), and recognized as Top Research Scientist Malaysia (TRSM) by Akademi Sains Malaysia (ASM). Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan also holds various patents for his innovations such as the rotating blade for natural fiber extraction machine, and Techno-Economic Hard Body Armour, among others.
Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan advises the youth to be observant and to recognize problems that our society faces. More than just recognizing the problem, the youth should also try to find solutions and share their knowledge towards the greater good.
Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan encourages everyone to become problem solvers instead of problem creators. He hopes to develop a policy that will support the processing of agricultural waste by transforming it into useful technology. His public lecture on “Putra Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: From Agricultural Biomass to a Biocomposite Flying Drone," to be streamed on 10 December 2021, 9:30 am (GMT +8), will discuss the innovative ways to process agricultural waste. The lecture will be delivered by Facebook Live Streaming with the link as follows: https://www.facebook.com/engineeringupm and http://www.facebook.com/UniPutraMalaysia.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Industrial Design is one of the many patents that Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan holds. His work on a drone made of pineapple leaves is part of a sustainability project at UPM, which started in 2017. The discarded pineapple leaves are used to create the skeleton of the drone. By using natural materials or biocomposites, Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. M.T.H. Sultan's team developed a durable, lighter, and cheaper drone that can go as high as a thousand meters and stay in flight for 20 minutes.
Such innovation in agriculture helps farmers as it provides additional income for them, and it also lessens the environmental impact of processing agricultural wastes. Pineapple wastes are usually discarded or burned by the farmers which can lead to pollution. The project aims to encourage scientists in Malaysia to put agricultural waste to good use and help farmers increase their yield. The next phase of the project is to develop a larger drone that could carry a payload for sensors that would benefit farmers and make their tasks lighter.