HomeIndustry SectorsFuture EnergyS.Africa: Young scientists address water and energy needs

S.Africa: Young scientists address water and energy needs

This year the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists awarded several students with ‘special awards’ and bursaries for developing innovative solutions to address the country’s energy and water needs.

Eskom Group Executive: Transmission / Acting Group Executive: Risk and Sustainability, Thava Govender, said: “The shortage of engineers and other technical experts is a major challenge in this country.

“That’s why at Eskom we are particularly concerned with investing in the development of young scientists and engineers, to help develop solutions to our energy and water needs so that the country can continue to grow in a sustainable way.”

Eskom: innovative solutions reap rewards

The parastatal highlighted the young scientists in a company statement last week.

Fiona Khoza, a grade 12 learner from Mahhushe Agricultural High School in Mpumalanga took home one of the bursaries, for her solar tracking device System.

Fiona’s creation is a solar tracking device designed to harness more energy by tracking the movement of the sun. The system is made from various electrical components, which enables the solar panel to move from east to west. The device is automatically controlled by software to optimise the power generation.

A grade 12 learner from Empangeni High School in KwaZulu-Natal, Joshua Boa-Amponsem, was another bursary awardee. Joshua built a machine that produces water directly from ambient air by condensing the water vapour in the atmosphere and storing it for use. In future he wants to power the device using solar power, to make it more energy efficient.

This year the winner of the Eskom Best Female Award was Khilona Piyarlall, a grade 9 learner from Scottburgh High in KwaZulu-Natal. Khilona’s water dispenser for animals was inspired by her family pets and the need to make sure they had water when the family was away.

The device automatically dispenses water, shutting down automatically when it’s full to prevent wastage. The machine also has software that can be programmed and connected to a SIM card and will notify you when the reservoir is full or has run dry. Khilona believes the device can be used at home, at game reserves and on farms to reduce water wastage while ensuring animals are kept well hydrated.

The Eskom Best Development Project Award went to Kamogelo Rakgetse, a grade 11 learner from Abraham Serote Secondary School in Limpopo for his Maglev Power Station. Kamogelo built a model of a magnetic power station that produces electric energy using potential energy from magnets.

His focus is on solving the energy crisis by offering an alternative and eco-friendly power source. Kamogelo’s design comes from an application exploiting the principle of magnetic induction between materials with different permeability.

The technology allows the drive shaft to levitate in a stable and safe way, without the need for external power making it a much more cost-effective power source than traditional fossil fuel based power stations.

The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists

The parastatal explained that this year the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists welcomed over 600 leaners to compete in the prestigious International Science Fair (ISF).

“These enthusiastic young innovators came to represent their schools after successfully progressing through the regional-level science fairs.

“They represent a cohort of young people who have discovered a passion for the sciences through the Eskom Expo and are interested in careers in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics or innovation fields,” the power company said.

It is within this context that Eskom awards four special awards to the best female, best development, best energy and best energy efficiency projects, the South African utility said in a statement. Read more…

They also award three university bursaries – to the value of R444,000 ($31,404) each – to outstanding Grade 12 learners to allow them to cover their tertiary studies at a university of their choice.

This year several of the special award and bursary winners looked to solve the country’s energy and water crisis.

Pieter Pretorius, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, commented: “Many talented young South Africans have trouble accessing tertiary education in this country so it’s really exciting to be able to provide education support to these young people.

“The Eskom Expo presents learners with a stepping stone towards their tertiary education and professional careers while also contributing to the private sector and government’s long-term plans.”


Featured image: Stock

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.