30 November 2011
If you’re looking for state-of-the-art innovations in energy efficiency, the South African Climate Change Response Expo, running alongside the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, has got it all.
South African technologies and those from around the world supporting the shift to a climate-resilient future are on display at the expo – which is free and open to the public – for the duration of COP 17.
Solar-powered street lights
In the Quinine tree marquee, South African start-up BENBEN gives product demonstrations on solar-powered street lights that are currently being piloted in several of the country’s municipalities.
The BENBEN power generator produces 220V AC power and is suitable for lighting, television and charging mobile phones. It can be powered from a 12V solar panel or by hand cranking, with 15 minutes of cranking providing up to three hours of electricity.
The BENBEN Eco Geezer provides hot water on demand without the need for a storage tank or heating element, saving up to 80 percent on electricity costs compared to traditional hot water geysers.
The City of Cape Town exhibit, which can be found in an interesting plastic crate structure, runs completely on solar and wind-powered energy.
“We’ve got a hand-held LCD screen here so we can read at any time how much power we are drawing, and what we’re putting back into Durban,” said Stephen Lamb, director of Touching the Earth Lightly.
Vertical shaft brick kiln technology
The Swiss stand promotes an extremely relevant vertical shaft brick kiln (VSBK) technology that is both energy-efficient and cost-effective.
Firing bricks is an energy-intensive process that typically results in high greenhouse gas emissions. The VSBK technology is said to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 to 60 percent compared to conventional firing techniques while reducing particulate emissions by up to 90 percent.
The open source VSBK technology facilitates access to green funds and the CDM market, and the Swiss have provided technical support for a pilot plant in Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape.
A ‘Joule’ of an electric car
Even though South Africa will have to wait until 2015 before it sees the Joule, a locally developed electric automobile, on the country’s streets, interest in the vehicle has been strong.
“Due to no spark plugs and no mechanical moving parts in the engine, the maintenance and longevity of an electric vehicle far outperforms today’s combustion engines, only requiring a service every 45 000kms,” said Jaco van Loggerenberg, communications manager of Optimal Energy, the company behind the vehicle.
It comes as no surprise that Japan’s stand is filled with technologies, from state-of-the-art energy-saving heat pumps to innovative steam traps used to reduce CO2 emissions from oil refinery processes.
The expo is situated at Centrum Car Park, Bram Fischer Road, within 300 metres of the International Convention Centre, directly between the COP 17 transport hub and the formal COP 17 negotiating space in the Convention Centre.
It will be open from 10am to 6pm Sundays through Thursdays, and from 10am to 8pm on the Fridays and Saturdays of COP 17.