Meet the Papua New Guinean chemist with a winning formula


Papua New Guinean chemist Yalinu Poya has received an international award for her groundbreaking research into making sustainable synthetic fertiliser.

Chemistry Award

PNG chemist Yalinu Poya (in pink) at the Green Talents competition in Germany. Credit: DLR/Manuela Meyer

Young PNG chemist Yalinu Poya has won a prestigious international award for her research into making sustainable synthetic fertiliser.

Poya was among 25 recipients to recently receive a Green Talent Award from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

There were more than 837 applicants for the awards from all over the world and from many scientific disciplines.

In her research, Poya is looking to improve the process that makes ammonia, which is used to make synthetic fertiliser. 

She says the process to make ammonia makes up two per cent of the world’s energy demand and contributes to global warming by releasing 1.6 per cent of human-made carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The young researcher aims to make ammonia synthesis more sustainable, highly efficient and applicable in small-scale plants using renewable energy sources such as wind energy.

Story continues after advertisment...

It is the second international science award won by Poya. In May last year, which marked the International Year of the Periodic Table and the 100th anniversary of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, she was selected as one of the 118 young chemists from around the world featured in the periodic table of younger chemists. The element awarded to her was Plutonium.

Poya graduated as PNG’s first woman Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, last December. 

This is an edited version of the story ‘PNG chemist with a winning formula’, which was first published in the January-February issue of Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini.

Leave a Reply