Learn more about the Top 5 African Youth Energy Innovators of 2017

Winner: Patrick Akpan
Innovation: Oil Palm Fruit Boiler


Patrick Akpan, a Mechanical Engineering student doing his PhD at UCT, won the first-ever African Youth Energy Innovator Award in 2017. Patrick’s energy efficient fruit palm sterilizer won the award for the best African energy innovation. Palm oil is used in beverages, cosmetic products, cooking and baking. “For me it’s like waking up from a dream. This idea was conceived some years back and I did some work on it, but since I was not getting support on it, I left it on the shelf. Now, I can see a brighter horizon and I’ve met a couple of people at the exhibition who said they would like to work with me to see what can be done on it, and so I see the product going to the market in the near future,” said Akpan.

THE FOUR RUNNERS-UP WERE:

Paseka Litabe
Innovation: Photovoltaic Blinds

Africa is experiencing one of the fastest rates of urbanization, this poses many challenges for governments in sectors relating to health, clean water, and sustainable energy resources. The innovation allows vertically mounted solar panels to track and follow the sun around a building, and positions the panels on the side receiving optimal sunlight. The innovation addresses the issue of carbon emissions, reduces smog through the use carbon-free  renewable energy and hence minimises health risks.  Innovation benefits include that it is scalable, measurable(R/KWh), affordable and that it improves efficiency and aesthetics.

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Mpumzi Swana
Innovation: Desalination using hydrowave energy

The innovation creates hydroelectricity for desalination using ocean waves. The solution benefits include:

  • Zero carbon emissions
  • Addresses water and energy security
  • Job creation during construction and operation
  • Free source of energy
  • Use wave energy and hydro-power
  • Consistent and reliable supply
  • Modular
  • Low operating costs

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Mbangiso Mabaso
Innovation: EED CITY GAME

“The Game That Every Utility Needs”  The innovation is a game-based solution aimed at users between 14-27 years, who own a smartphone and love playing games. The game educates them about energy terms by bringing in a fun and competitive component. Customers like local utilities would see an improvement in energy saving campaigns and better customer engagement.

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Jonathan David Naude
Innovation: Solar Tracking Mechanism

The innovatation proposes optimising Solar PV systems by using an improved solar tracking mechanism which typically results in 30-45% higher electricity production, at a feasible cost. The following advantages are possible through solar tracking:

  • No software required to operate. No pc-board is required to facilitate the tracking method.
  • Does not require additional power source for the tracking mechanism.
  • Higher energy efficiency for tracking module and in effect higher output for the solar collector.
  • Scalable based on application
  • Robustness in setup and operation
  • Does not require precise alignment of the solar tracking setup

With an optical feedback means, the control system can ensure that any tracking errors due to wind effects, mechanical backlash, installation mismatches, accumulated errors or other disturbances in the positioning of the parabolic dish are reduced.

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