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On Tuesday, three eager South African learners embarked on a three-day venture to participate in the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP) in Houston, USA.

Selected under the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists – showcasing the country’s most innovative and talented science minds across South Africa’s rural and urban areas for 37 years – the students will be taking part on in the largest science fair event of its kind in the world with this specialty.

Eskom Expo for Young Scientists

Eskom said in a statement that these three learners did exceptionally well in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Finals in October 2016 and therefore have the honour of representing South Africa.

“The learners are excited and look forward to meeting likeminded learners from all over the world and learning about their cultures and different science projects,” they added.

They will present the following projects at this international stage:

  • Sanele Msizi Hlongwane from Ladysmith, will present his project titled “Propellant Cheapskates”. The purpose of this project is to determine whether different propellant families used in amateur rockets can be improved so that they can perform nearly as powerful as industrial propellants used in commercial and private rockets.
  • Cornelis Rautenbach from Pretoria, will present his project titled “The El Nino Southern Oscillation and rainfall in South Africa”. In South Africa it is a general perception that El Niño seasons are associated with overall droughts, while La Niña seasons are associated with overall wetter conditions. In the study this perception was tested by investigating whether the influence of El Niño and La Niña seasons are month and area-dependent instead of being weather-dependent.
  • Junho Ko from Cape Town, will present his project titled “Decreasing Temperature and Retaining Hot Water in Informal Settlements using Plastic Bottles filled with Water”. Millions of people living in South Africa are forced to live in informal settlements, and the heat induced by these "shacks" can cause many heat related problems for the people living in the shacks. Junho decided to come up with a cheap, easy-to-use solution for this problem.

Development partners

I-SWEEEP promotes engineering inventions and energy efficiency/management discoveries that will nurture environmentally-friendly technology concepts in secondary education. I-SWEEEP gives learners the opportunity to position themselves as the scientists and engineers of the future. This is a pivotal step in our education efforts to develop an environmentally-conscious global community that inspires personal responsibility in caring for our planet and those who share it. Read more...

“This global competition provides a platform for the youth from diverse backgrounds, to demonstrate their ingenuity in trying to solve the world’s most pressing challenges through science and engineering. Our future is in their hands, so it’s important and admirable, that companies like Eskom and the Expo for Young Scientists, provide a platform locally to ensure global participation and international competitiveness. We’re very proud of the South African learners who excelled in the Eskom Expo International Science Fair in 2016 and who are now competing in I-SWEEEP,” said Parthy Chetty, Executive Director of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.

“The learners are looking forward to meeting people from all over the world, learning about their cultures and seeing what they have created. Every year our projects have returned with medal honours, which show how competitive our learners are in the international arena, if given the opportunity.”