- Angelo Buckley, 31 January 2018The Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University undertook a project to install two solarpowered, water-heating systems at the Mariendahl farm. Mariendahl serves as Stellenbosch University’s experimental farm and is located approximately 14km north of Stellenbosch.2018-01-20 07:42:48
Although both systems are solar powered, they are powered using two different technologies. The one system is powered by solar thermal energy and is referred to as a solar water heating (SWH) system. The other system is powered using photovoltaics (PV). The project was funded by Stellenbosch University through the SOLTRAIN initiative. The SOLTRAIN initiative is managed by AEE-Intec in Austria and funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the OPEC Fund for Industrial Development (OFID).
The initial stage of the project included the modelling and simulation of each of the systems to identify suitable sizing. This simulation modelling was followed by a detailed financial analysis to investigate the feasibility of each system and the detailed designs with the assistance of AEE-Intec. The systems should substantially reduce the electricity consumption of the residents as less grid electricity will be required for water heating. The aim of this project is to compare the systems, their performance and cost effectiveness.
A 2.4 m2 flat-plate collector with a 200 l hot water storage was designed and installed on one of the houses and the other with a 1.5 kWp PV system. The PV system powers a DC/AC element for heating the water in a 200 l hot water storage tank identical to the tank used in the SWH system. The DC/AC resistive element, a relatively new technology on the market, allows DC electricity from the PV system to directly power the resistive element without the needed of an inverter. The element is also able to operate with AC electricity from the grid which serves as a back-up for when solar energy is insufficient. The SWH system is also equipped with a back-up AC resistive element.
The PV and SWH systems are expected to provide 60% of each residence’s hot water needs. Both systems are equipped with monitoring equipment that allows CRSES and AEE-Intec to monitor and evaluate the performance of the systems. This will allow for a detailed technical and financial comparison of the types of technologies based on system operation, project costs and the cost of energy.Geraldo Nhumaio, 31 January 2018The new Counsellor and Head of Cooperation of the Austrian Embassy in Mozambique, Mr Hubert Neuwirth, visited the Faculty of Engineering of the Eduardo Mondlane University (FEUEM) in late November in order to get acquainted with the SOLTRAIN activities in Mozambique. After the briefing at FEUEM and after being shown the SOLTRAIN demonstration trailer, Mr. Neuwirth was pleased to visit one of the SOLTRAIN I demonstration systems installed at Ndlavela, a health centre within 7 km of Maputo's peri-urban area.2018-01-20 07:35:05
Due to Mr Neuwirth's time availability, a visit will be re-scheduled so that he can also tour the Psico-Social Rehabilitation Center where a 1 000 l Briefing about the SOLTRAIN activities in Mozambique. From left to right: Hubert Neuwirth (ADA), Madeleine Salinger (ADA), Muarapaz (EDM), Deputy-Dean for Research and Extension, Faculty Administrator, SOLTRAIN Coordinator. solar thermal system was installed as part of SOLTRAIN I, as well as the 2nd trailer in the possession of a vocational school. Both locations are within 7 km radius of downtown Maputo.Ivan Yaholnitsky, 29 January 2018On Oct. 24, Stephen Lelimo and Ivan Yaholnitsky accepted an Emirates Energy Award in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on behalf of Bethel Business and Community Development Centre (BBCDC). BBCDC was recognized in the category of Education and Capacity Building and received a cash prize of 21,780 USD and Certificate.2018-01-29 09:42:59
The Emirates Energy Award was part of a Green Economy Summit which ran in late October, and and which received broad exposure on social and global media. The sponsors of the award covered BBCDC’s travel and accommodation, and the program included a world class expert’s panel on RE transition and clean energy.
The UAE is setting impressive and urgent targets for decarbonisation of its energy supplies. BBCDC is greatly honoured to receive this award and grateful to the organizers and people of the United Arab Emirates. BBCDC will use the cash prize to purchase an electric utility vehicle and bolster the solar energy program with a working model of a clean transportation system.
The vehicle will facilitate inexpensive driving lessons and reduce energy costs for local transportation. The prize will also enable additional investment in education and programs at BBCDC.
BBCDC’s submission for the EEA included the contribution from OFID, AEE-Intec and the Austrian Development Agency, and summarized BBCDC’s work on solar energy for the last two decades.Givemore Kanyemba and Samson Mhlanga, 29 January 2018The National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe’s SOLTRAIN partner, exhibited at the Schools Climate Change Education and Awareness Campaign Fair under the theme Change the Mind, Not the Climate at Hillside Junior Primary School, Bulawayo in the latter part of November. Other organisations present were the Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition, Edgars, and various primary and secondary schools.2018-01-29 09:39:21
The objectives of the exhibition included making children aware of climate change, its causes and effects, and to make children aware of the various means of mitigating global warming by using less electricity and promoting the use alternative, renewable sources of energy at their homes. It also sought to expose children to alternative, more sustainable technologies and to influence future policy and decisions by the children when they take positions of influence later on in life.
The event included presentations from Mr Zvaita (Programme Director of Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition), Mr Sibanda (Deputy Provincial Education Director), Mr G Chirinda, (SOLTRAINNUST Representatives) and an Edgars Representative. Mr G Kanyemba and Mr A Mnkandla manned the SOLTRAIN stand for practical demonstrations.Fenni Shidhika and Helvi Ileka, 29 January 2018Under the Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN), partners are expected to transfer technology and exchange information. Namibia Energy Institute (NEI) in collaboration Lesotho’s Bethel Business and Community Development Center (BBCDC) demonstrated a solar bakery at the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show (WIAS) at the beginning of October. The parabolic oven was transported from Lesotho and was on display for the whole week, with the main objective being to raise awareness from bakery entrepreneurs in the country in order for those who are interested in the solar baking to submit proposals for co-financing under the SOLTRAIN project as demonstration systems.2018-01-29 09:34:48
Another objective of the collaboration was for Namibia to learn from Lesotho on how to construct the solar bakery, so that Namibia can start designing and manufacturing their own solar bakery. Participants from Lesotho shared their knowledge by demonstrating how the solar bakery works by baking a variety of bread and muffins. Normal standard bread pans as well as traditional pans from Namibia were also tested in the solar oven and were found to fit properly. Malte Schien, an Intern student from Germany who assisted BBCDC in the construction of the solar bakery, shared this knowledge of constructing and operating the solar bakery with staff and interns of NEI, members of the public and members from the Renewable Energy Industry Association of Namibia.
Members of the public who attended the WIAS were amazed at how the solar bakery worked and how well it baked bread and muffins. The demonstration of the solar bakery was done in conjunction with a cook-off competition organized by NEI under the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). The competition was focusing on using different sustainable cooking methods including cookers using energy from the sun and wood efficient stoves. Various institutions participated in the competition and companies from industry such as Amusha Consulting and RDJ Consulting showed interest in knowing more about the design and manufacturing of the solar bakery. NUST and the University of Namibia students and lecturers also indicated that they would like to introduce the solar bakery at their institutions for research projects.
According to Namibian census data from 2011, the main domestic energy source for cooking was wood and charcoal. The census indicated that 86 % of all rural households and about 20% of all households in urban area were still using wood for cooking. Women and children do heavy work in gathering wood all the time, resulting in health problems and absence from school. In addition, traditional cooking methods cause health problems through smoke inhalation, especially in women and children. The introduction of clean cooking technologies to the communities will reduce some of these health risks and will improve the livelihood of people in both urban and rural areas.
In sunny weather conditions, the parabolic oven reached an ideal baking temperature of 180⁰C and took approximately 35 minutes to bake a batch.Puleng Mosothoane, 29 January 2018Bethel Business and Community Development Centre (BBCDC) updates us on some solar innovations that they have recently undertaken relating to a new collector manifold for an aging solar water heating system and, a heat exchanger design.2018-01-29 09:29:01
New 20 heat-pipe collector manifold
An average solar radiation of 6kWh per square meter per year provides enough solar thermal energy for Leotho's BBCDC to rely on solar water heating for its hostel’s hot water requirements. Having been early adopters, some of the installed infrastructure is already 15 years old and recently needed some maintenance. At the same time, Lesotho’s very cold winters present challenges due to freezing, resulting in the rupturing of pipes within the aging infrastructure.One of the girl’s hostels had a 200 litre galvanized tank and 4 square meter flat plate collector made out of galvanized pipes installed.
This year, the BBCDC decided to replace the galvanized pipe collector with a 20 heat-pipe collector manifold. Since the new heat pipes are freeze resistant up to -32°C, freezing should no longer be an issue. The heat pipes also have a higher efficiency than the galvanized pipe collector, meaning that more hot water will be produced.
The new collector was installed by second year Solar Technology students at BBCDC.
The BBCDC is also experimenting with its own heat exchanger to deal with sub-zero temperatures and the damage caused by freezing. It is made out of copper pipes and copper sheeting which is soldered together. The collector is filled with freeze-resistant heat exchange fluid which in turn heats water in the storage tank. The heat exchanger is highly insulated so that all the heat in it is transferred to the water to be heated. The dimensions of the heat exchanger are 50cm x 7cm.
On the day it was tested, the loop from the collector with the heat exchange fluid reached 65°C, while the loop going to the tank reached 56°C. On the test day, the solar radiation averaged at 800 watts/m2, and in 4 hours the heat exchanger managed to heat 20 l of water from 20 to 50°C.
A 2m2 copper pipe flat-plate semi-closed collector was used in the testing. More tests on the heat exchanger will be conducted.SOLTRAIN Administrator, 26 January 2018Namibia is southern Africa´s front runner in terms of solar energy. Solar could provide energy security for the country which currently depends heavily on fuel imports. This includes power and water heating for homes, but also heat for the food and mining industry and desalination of water.2018-01-29 09:49:39
Helvi Ileka was recently interviewed at the Solar World Congress in Abu Dhabi on how the roadmap of the Namibian government marks the shift towards solar.
Click here to view the interview on Youtube.Dr. Edwin Matlotse, 23 January 2018The Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) of the University of Botswana (UB) recently launched the Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap (BSTTR) along with its implementation plan, a key output of the Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) programme.2018-01-20 07:38:42
The proceedings started with a welcome address by the CERC director, Edwin Matlotse, during which the value of BSTTR the importance was emphasized, considering the policy vacuum with regards to solar thermal specifically in Botswana currently.
AEE-INTEC’s Werner Weiss gave a regional overview of SOLTRAIN achievements to date in Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, congratulating Botswana for being the last participant to join the project but yet being on par with the rest of the SOLTRAIN partners who have benefited from their participation during the first and second phases. Dr. Edwin Matlotse gives the welcoming address.
The roadmap is a rigorous six-phase process sanctioned by the Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Platform. According to Prof. Andrew Obok Opok, the roadmap will run from 2018 until 2030. Opok also presented financial data regarding different solar thermal systems in various sectors, both public and private, during the period under consideration.
Proceedings were concluded with stakeholders commending the UB project team for compiling the BSTTR document and expressing thanks to the programme sponsors.Fenni Shidhika, Helvi Ileka and Virginia Roman, 3 November 2017
Colleagues from the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre attended the Final Stakeholder Workshop on the Implementation Plan of the Namibian Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap to present the first locally manufactured solar collector. Many of these individuals attended the Train the Trainer courses for professionals carried out previously under SOLTRAIN II. The aim of these courses was to increase the knowledge of professionals on solar thermal systems and to be able to design, build and install such systems.2017-11-03 08:35:00
The collector was manufactured by the Vocational Educational Trainers, Kayec Training Trust, National Youth Service, NamWater Human Resource Development Centre and National Training Authorit, with the assistance from Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbert’s (GIZ) ProVet programme.
A key objective of the manufacturing initiative was to start the manufacture of a collector with locally available materials. The size of the collector produced is 1.2 m by 1.2 m (1.4 m2 in total), with components consisting of copper pipes, black-painted flat sheets, insulation foam and the wood, which was used as a frame, could all be bought locally.
Participants tested the functionality of the collector in terms of temperature changes of the fluid in the collector. However, it is noted that this is an ongoing activity and more tests need to be performed on the collector to determine metrics such as the flow rate and efficiency of the collector. The Vocational Training Centres confirmed that they have the workforce available and are now in search of potential investors who can assist them with commercialisation efforts. It is encouraging to see that the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre is using the training materials provided by the SOLTRAIN project for practical training purposes. For example, the tank from the trailer will be used at the World Skills Competition in Abu Dhabi later this month by the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre.
It is encouraging to see that the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre is using the training materials provided by the SOLTRAIN project for practical training purposes. For example, the tank from the trailer will be used at the World Skills Competition in Abu Dhabi later this month by the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre.Ivan Yaholnitsky, 3 November 2017
This month’s submission to the Soltrain Newsletter from BBCDC, pays tribute to the work of Dr. Anton Schwarzlmueller in Zimbabwe. One of the great achievements of the SOLTRAIN program is the sharing of ideas and cross fertilization of experience. At one of the first presentations of SOLTRAIN II in Lesotho, Werner Weiss introduced some of the low cost institutional systems that were built by Tony and his team in Zimbabwe.2017-11-03 14:27:09
When I saw Tony’s systems, they immediately drew my interest, because of the low cost, bulk supply models they developed for schools and institutions. In Lesotho, we are in the same position of needing low-cost solutions, that include some local manufacturing and doing what you can with local materials and components. It took us some years, but I wanted to demonstrate for myself and at BBCDC, that system’s like Tony’s can work and are appropriate for the African context.
In 2017 we finally installed a system inspired directly by the work of Dr. Schwarzlmueller. BBCDC operates a lodge on its campus and in response to increased demand for bookings and accommodation, we renovated a house previously damaged by fire. A new roof was installed to provide extra sleeping space and two new guest flats were constructed and fitted with new bathrooms and plumbing. We needed hot water and this provided an opportunity to design and build a system like Tony’s in Zimbabwe.
We purchased two commercial evacuated glass tube collectors with heat pipes and then constructed a low pressure solar water heating system with a 500 litre plastic tank. A simple float valve is used to fill the tank and maintain low pressure in the water volume. The elevation of the tank and a good volume ensures adequate pressure at the shower heads.
A young German engineering intern by the name of Malte Schien came to BBCDC in June 2017 for a 6 month academic attachment for his degree, and assisting with this task was one of his first assignments. The system came together well and is working properly. We were stumped for a few days by reverse thermo-syphoning across the horizontal manifold which we could not explain at first. It seemed that nocturnal cooling of the un-insulated storage tank created an unexpected stratification of cold and hot water in the tank, which would reverse the thermo syphon from the previous day.
All of us learned something, and finally, modification of the flow lines from the tank to the manifold eliminated the problem, along with insulation and covering of the storage tank. In the end the system is producing plenty of hot water, and we were able to build a 500 litre solar water heating system for a relatively low cost. Many of our students were up on the roof with us, and as an educator, I am happiest not to give them answers, but to allow them the opportunity of figuring it out for themselves. This is the best development outcome. After seeing presentations about Tony’s work in Zimbabwe, I scratched my head and found our own solution. The premise of the SDGs is local agency and selfsufficiency; so be it for our students.
There are numerous boarding schools in Lesotho because of the dispersed nature of the population, especially at secondary level. A pressing technical and health imperative is installation of low cost bulk solar water heating solutions for large populations of boarding students. What is needed for showering is a large volume of warm but not necessarily hot water. Developers, technicians, plumbing firms and administrators can get with it as we did. Thanks haholo Tony.Blessed Sarema & Samson Mhlanga, 3 November 2017
The National University of Science and Technology SOLTRAIN team continued with their schools outreach programme aimed at creating awareness about solar thermal technology and applications. This time the destination was Mahlothova Secondary School, located in Umguza District 45 km from Bulawayo on the Victoria Falls Highway. This was the team’s first visit to a school outside Bulawayo thanks to Gawain Badcock who volunteered to tow the Mobile Solar Training Unit, accompanied by Sam Stroupe, a student from Texas Tech University.2017-11-03 13:31:38
At the workshop the team managed to train 9 teachers and 239 students in three sessions. The first session focused on the theory behind solar thermal heating, covering various applications for solar thermal systems, preconditions for solar energy, utilization and solar resource, flat plate versus tubular collectors, materials and other components.
In the second session, participants were taken through the Mobile Solar Training Unit. Practical demonstrations on how the thermosiphon systems and active pump systems work were conducted. Space heating applications of solar thermal energy was also demonstrated through the radiator circuit of the trailer. The team also took the opportunity to explain functionality of the photovoltaic system on board.
The final session of the training sought to impart some practical skills to the participants in terms of making solar collectors using locally available resources. The team demonstrated the basics of soldering that is required during assembly and installation of solar water heating systems.
Fittingly, the training was concluded with a visit to a local vocational training centre as the team sought opportunities for broader collaboration within the field of solar thermal energy.Dr. E. Matlotse, 3 November 2017
The Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), in partnership with the Department of Energy (DoE) under the Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE), embarked on a public awareness campaign at the Gaborone International Consumer Trade Fair in late August.2017-11-03 11:23:15
Activities included the setting up of adjacent stalls by both CERC and the DoE, as well as putting the SOLTRAIN project trailer on display. In keeping with the public awareness component of the SOLTRAIN project, it was hoped that the presence of the trailer would promote awareness of different solar thermal technology principles and concepts, and highlight some of the benefits of clean energy to Botswana citizens. Building acceptance is seen as an important step towards the mainstreaming renewable energy technologies.
CERC’s and the DoE’s public awareness efforts seemed to have paid off, with many visitors expressing interest in the technologies and an appreciation of what it is that the two parties are trying to achieve. Most importantly, they came to appreciate how they can also be a part of the country’s journey towards a sustainable energy future.Angelo Buckley, 20 October 2017
WWF-SA recently published a technical report exploring the barriers and potential for the uptake of solar thermal energy in South Africa in the agri-processing and textile industries. Staff at the Centre for Renewable And Sustainainable Energy Studies at Stellenbosch University, one of the South African SOLTRAIN partners, co-authored the report.2017-10-19 13:40:48
Although the use of solar thermal technology in industry is highly applicable to low temperature requirements, the key reason why it has not received the level of attention of PV is due to the high cost of both the installation of the plant and the storage of heated water.
South Africa has some of the highest levels of solar irradiation in the world, and while both domestic and industrial use of PV to generate electricity has gained traction, the use of solar thermal for industrial process heat has not attracted much attention. The agri-processing and textile industries offer key market opportunities due to their need for low temperature heat (below 160 ⁰C).
Download the report at this link.Blessed Sarema & Samson Mhlanga, 20 October 2017
The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and SOLTRAIN hosted another round of solar water heating system installer training in Bulawayo in early July. Aimed at improving the quality of installations in Zimbabwe, this was the second round of training, with the first having been conducted in Harare at roughly the same time the previous year.The training was conducted by Rudi Moschik from AEE INTEC alongside Eng. Samson Mhlanga from NUST.2017-10-19 13:56:53
A total of 15 installers drawn from various fields including technicians and engineers were included in this round. The training included important theoretical concepts such as collector type, collector efficiency, orientation, inclination and some of the fundamental installation errors that one needs to look out for.
Once again the Solar Mobile Training Unit proved to be an important training resource, and some of the lessons were delivered on the trailer itself, with the participants being able to appreciate the best practices evident from the system that is installed on the trailer.
A demonstration of the installation of a vacuum system was also completed, and all the participants participated in the practical step-bystep installation procedure leading up to the commissioning stage. Key maintenance checkpoints were also discussed. To conclude the training, participants were assessed by means of a test, with certificates being awarded to successful participants.Dr. E. Matlotse, 20 October 2017
The Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), ran a successful first dissemination training course in early August. Participants included twenty Ministry of Basic Education technicians resulting in representation from at least two officials for every district in the country.2017-10-20 14:05:00
The technicians operate regionally in attending to school’s solar water heating systems, and lack of skilled capacity had resulted in a high failure rate for these systems. The SOLTRAIN training therefore provided a much-needed shot in the arm in ensuring that the potential of solar thermal technology is realized in providing basic energy services to rural learners.
Proceedings were officially opened by the Faculty of Engineering and Technology (FET) deputy dean, Dr. O. Kanyeto, followed by CERC director, Dr. E. Matlotse, who delivered an overview of the entire SOLTRAIN project and some specifics of the training course itself.
Thereafter, the roughly two-day training session kicked off in earnest, with the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Grace Muzila, visiting on the second day of proceedings to offer a word of encouragement to the participants. Muzila promised that they will send more technicians to training of this nature.
The training culminated in an official closing and awards ceremony. Dean of Graduate Studies at UB, Prof. G.O. Anderson, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and CERC director, Dr. E. Matlotse, again outlined the SOLTRAIN project to attendees.
Guest speaker from the Ministry, Deputy Permanent Secretary Mrs. Oemetse Sally Nkoane, gave a keynote address during which she thanked both UB and the SOLTRAIN project sponsors for the excellent work that they are doing in the solar thermal sector. After her address, she awarded the certificates to the participants.
One of the participants, Mr. A. Kakungirue, gave a vote of thanks in which he expressed his thanks to UB, SOLTRAIN and his employers in affording him the opportunity to attend and benefit from the training session.
The closing ceremony was itself concluded with a tour of the SOLTRAIN trailer by the dignitaries and a group photo of dignitaries, trainers and trainees.