Munavu Raphael

Munavu Raphael was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2012. As a fellow, Munavu Raphael contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Chemical Sciences

Prof. Raphael Munavu is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nairobi where he has served since 1976.  He is   current Chairman of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS) as well as   Chairman of the Council of South Eastern University College (SEUCO). Prof. Munavu attended Kalamazoo College (B.A, 1967-1970); Wayne State University (M.Sc., 1970- 1972) and the University of Detroit (Ph.D, 1972-1975). He is a specialist in Organic, Environmental and Industrial chemistry.  Publishing over sixty refereed and commissioned papers, he has written extensively on the role of Higher Education, Chemistry, Science, Technology and Innovation in socio-economic development. He has also undertaken consultancies on the environmental impacts of utilizing   various natural resources. His research interest is in discovering and developing appropriate and innovative chemical processes for the conversion of locally available resources into useful products. His achievements include: Conversion of readily available carbohydrates (sucrose, lactose, fructose and glucose) into furfural, hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) and HMF dimers using DMSO.  These products have proven and potential industrial uses. Munavu’s team were first to report on these DMSO-mediated reactions The behaviour of alcohols and diols in the presence of DMSO, dialkylsulphides and bromine. His team were first to report on the synthesis of methylene acetals using diols in the presence of DMSO and bromine. The reaction intermediate, trimethylsulphonium bromide, is now commercially available. Extraction, chemical studies, and potential uses of vegetable oils from the seeds of local plants. The oil of Croton megalocarpus, Jatropha and cape Chestnut are now being piloted for production of biodiesel in Kenya.