Tag Archives: technology

Biogas project ensures affordable energy for local community

A Limpopo community project that transforms cow dung directly into biogas has already made it easier to cut down high electricity service fees for poor villagers.

The Mpfuneko (Solution) project in Gawula village near Giyani gathers cow dung provided by local cattle owners and processes it directly into usable gas, which, in turn, is offered for sale to the local residences at an affordable price.

“All of us are unquestionably extremely satisfied with the project for the reason that those who find themselves out of work have the ability to set aside some funds and purchase the biogas,” proclaimed satisfied and content customer Josephine Simango.


Simango explained the project has allowed her to prepare food for her children by making use of a biogas stove as opposed to firewood, which happens to be more often than not gathered in snake-infested bushes.

Founding project manager Jotte van Ierland, who is originally from the Netherlands, stated the technological innovation was basically very economical.

“We sign an agreement with at the very least three households that happen to be in close proximity and enable all of them to make use of an unrestricted supply of the gas or green energy for a collective sum of money of R125 per month,” stated van Ierland.

He explained a biogas digester is set up that will transform manure directly into energy and furthermore supplies all three households with biogas by way of a pipeline. The biogas digester heats up the cow dung to a specific degree, at which point the application will begin generating gas.


The undertaking appeared to be primarily suitable for Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, which generally reach high temperature ranges during the course of warmer summer months.

The project was initially started in 2007 and furthermore geared towards promoting socio-economic development within rural areas.

“Cattle owners reap some benefits by contributing cow dung in return for a 25% share in the project. The project at the same time offers employment as well as skills that local people need to empower themselves,” van Ierland said. Ten individuals were currently employed in the project up to now. Having said that, the future of the project is unclear.

“We have only one church from the Netherlands sponsoring the project. Their sponsorship deal lapses next month and considering the fact that if we do not find another sponsor we could quite possibly be in trouble,” said van Ierland, adding that whether or not the project came to an end, he would most likely carry on residing in South Africa because he planned to register for a PhD in biogas technology.

Source: BuaNews

South Africa enters space race with launch of new space agency

South Africa has decided to have its own space agency to promote and also coordinate space science and technology programmes in the nation.

The long-awaited South African National Space Agency (Sansa) is going to be launched in Midrand, Johannesburg, on 9 December 2010.


Sansa’s National Space Strategy will be presented right away to put South Africa among global frontrunners in space science and technology.

A parliamentary Act to establish Sansa had been passed in December 2008, and ever since then the Department of Science and Technology has been spending so much time to make the body a reality.

“The South African National Space Agency will coordinate and integrate national space science and technology programmes and conduct long-term planning for the implementation of space-related activities in South Africa,” said the department’s spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele in a statement.


The agency is without a doubt expected to fast-track South Africa’s position in global space ventures. The Department of Science and Technology said one of the main goals of Sansa will certainly be to strongly encourage the peaceful use of outer space.

It’s also anticipated that Sansa will help to make it simpler for South African bodies to carry out their own astronomy research. The administration wants the agency to stimulate cooperation on space-related projects between the nation and the global community.

Global space agreements

The Department of Science and Technology said international deals will certainly be signed at the launch, as well as an inter-agency cooperative agreement together with the Algerian Space Agency on space science and technology.

A memorandum of understating will be agreed upon between Sansa and the National Institute for Space Research of Brazil and the China Centre for Resources Satellite Data and Application.

Mark Shuttelworth

A major deal will additionally be clinched to permit the reception and distribution of China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS-3) data within South Africa and the Southern African region, said the department.

Sansa’s CEO and a board of between 10 and 15 members are predicted to be introduced at the launch. The executives will be designated by the Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor, as stipulated in the Act.

Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor

South Africa’s space institutions

South Africa is in fact already heading up a number of notable space projects, which includes the Square Kilometre Array, the Southern African Large Telescope and SumbandilaSat. Sansa will become the umbrella body that will will synchronize all these projects.

The agency will also incorporate the country’s current science and technology establishments, such as the Satellite Applications Centre run by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.


Most of these bodies already “play a significant role in the scientific study, exploration and utilisation of space”, according to the Department of Science and Technology.

The French South African Institute of Technology, based at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, is one of the front-runners in establishing space science and technology in the country.


There are about 74 companies that trade within the aerospace and defence sector in South Africa, according to the International Astronautical Federation.

The federation will host its 62nd International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town in October 2011. This will be the first time such a congress is organised in Africa.

“South Africa has some of the best space infrastructure in Africa,” reads a report released by the department.


The actual country’s participation in astronomy dates back to 1685, at what time a temporary observatory was established in the Western Cape. Subsequently, a permanent observatory was set up in 1820 outside Cape Town.

Where can I study Astronomy and Space Science after school?

* The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme
(run by a consortium of institutions)
University of Cape Town, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
Private Bag Rondebosch 7701
Tel: (021) 650-2344/650-2334, Fax: (021) 650-2334

* University of Cape Town
Department of Astronomy, University of Cape Town
Private Bag Rondebosch 7700,
Tel: (021) 650-3342, Fax: (021) 650-3342

* University of the Free State
Department of Physics, University of the Free State
PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300,
Tel: (051) 401-2926/6158

* University of Natal, Durban
School of Pure and Applied Physics, University of Natal
Durban 4041, Tel: (031) 260-2775, Fax: (031) 261-6550

* University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, University of Natal
Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209
Tel: (033) 260-5326, Fax: (033) 260-5009

* Potchefstroom University
School of Physics, Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education
Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520
Tel: (018) 299-2423, Fax: (018) 299-2421

* Rhodes University
Department of Physics and Electronics, Rhodes University
PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140,
Tel: (046) 603-8450, Fax: (046) 622-5049

* University of South Africa
Department of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Astronomy
PO Box 392, UNISA 0003
Tel: (012) 429-6202, Fax: (012) 429-6064

* University of Stellenbosch
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Stellenbosch

Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602
Tel: (021) 808-4368, Fax: (021) 808-4981

* University of the Witwatersrand
School of Computational and Applied Mathematics
Private Bag-3, Wits-2050, Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 717-6138, Fax: (011) 717-6149

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, radionz.co.nz, boston.com, africaninspace.com

Flex your science and tech muscle to help win SKA bid

South Africans have been urged to help the country win the bid to host the world largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), by highlighting their science and technology strengths.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor made this plea at the CSIR Biennial Conference on Tuesday in Pretoria.

Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor

“In the run-up to the vital decision about who will host the SKA, all of us must make an effort to showcase our strong science and production capabilities across all of the areas that are required for the SKA to run successfully. We need to highlight that such a project has the power to strengthen science, technology, and innovation in Africa,” she said.

The minister added that all had a role to play in strengthening the bid, including researchers, the media and local industry.


South Africa and Australia are the only two countries shortlisted to host the SKA – poised to be by far the largest radio telescope in the world. SKA funders are expected to announce the host country in March 2012.

If South Africa wins the bid it would consolidate Africa as a major hub for astronomy in the world.


The core of the telescope will be located in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, with about three antenna stations in Namibia, four in Botswana and one each in Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Each antenna station will consist of about 30 to 40 individual antennae.


The minister said the SKA was a science project that offered immense opportunities for advancing technology development, engineering and innovation in areas that range from computing and information and communication technology, as well as the development of new materials to construct the satellite dishes, right through to innovative energy solutions to power the SKA.

Source: BuaNews, futuretimeline.net, salt.ac.za,

SA business gets tech-savvy

Smartphones have made a dramatic entry into corporate South Africa, far surpassing general consumer use or small business use.

This is a surprise finding from a new research study released today by World Wide Worx. The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2010 report reveals that three-quarters of South African companies have deployed smartphones in their organisations, compared to almost none two years ago.

The study, backed by First National Bank and Research In Motion (RIM), shows thaSmartphones have made a dramatic entry into corporate South Africa, far surpassing general consumer use or small business use.

This is a surprise finding from a new research study released today by World Wide Worx. The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2010 report reveals that three-quarters of South African companies have deployed smartphones in their organisations, compared to almost none two years ago.

The study, backed by First National Bank and Research In Motion (RIM), shows that saturation point has almost been reached by large South African companies in the use of fixed landlines (96%) and ordinary cellphones (92%). And, as forecast in 2007, 3G data card penetration has also reached near saturation, with 94% of large companies deploying it. Now the focus has turned to integration of smartphones with business processes.

“These results show that enterprise mobility solutions are no longer just nice to have,” says Deon Liebenberg, RIM’s regional director for sub-Saharan Africa. “They’re essential for businesses that want to be competitive, responsive and efficient in a world where a customer won’t wait for a salesperson who is visiting customers and where project flow can’t stop because a manager is at a full-day meeting.

“Not only does mobility allow companies to improve internal efficiencies and communications, it also enables them to interact more effectively with their increasingly mobile customers.”

The study also showed that corporate South Africa expects to embrace the new world of online services to an extent that was not even anticipated as recently as one year ago.

“Until last year, concepts like software as a service (Saas) and cloud computing were regarded as little more than buzzwords,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.

Yet, in the next 24 months, 84% of South African corporations expect to have a Saas strategy in place, and 60% expect to have adopted a cloud computing strategy.

“These aren’t technologies as such,” says Goldstuck. “They are strategies that make the organisation’s use of new technology more efficient. From storage systems to software deployment, from hardware upgrades to network capacity to bandwidth, the focus is on cost-effectiveness, flexibility and mobility.”

Among the technologies expected to take off as a result of the Saas and cloud computing revolution are:

* Fixed-mobile convergence, with 72% of companies expecting to adopt systems that allow seamless connectivity between fixed and mobile networks.
* Virtualisation, with 65% expected to embrace this flexible and cost-effective approach to network and server technology.
* Outsourced storage and archiving systems, with half of large South African companies predicting they will be using it in the next 24 months.

The combined effect of these technologies is that, while the organisation’s buildings and infrastructure may still be confined to a specific site, its people, activities, information, documentation and data have been freed from location.

“We are literally seeing the foundations being laid for the company of the future,” says Goldstuck.

Liebenberg adds: “Smartphones are now mainstream devices within South African businesses, but the smartphone revolution has only just begun. Enterprises should now be looking at what smartphones mean for their businesses in a more strategic and holistic fashion. They need to work towards mobilising their core internal and customer-facing processes so that their employees can use ubiquitous connectivity to be productive and responsive wherever they are.”

The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2010 forms part of the Mobility 2009 project, which included research among 1 000 consumers, 1 000 small and medium enterprisese and 240 large enterprises in South Africa.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, mobilemarketingwatch.com, apple.com, nokia,com, blackberry.com saturation point has almost been reached by large South African companies in the use of fixed landlines (96%) and ordinary cellphones (92%). And, as forecast in 2007, 3G data card penetration has also reached near saturation, with 94% of large companies deploying it. Now the focus has turned to integration of smartphones with business processes.

“These results show that enterprise mobility solutions are no longer just nice to have,” says Deon Liebenberg, RIM’s regional director for sub-Saharan Africa. “They’re essential for businesses that want to be competitive, responsive and efficient in a world where a customer won’t wait for a salesperson who is visiting customers and where project flow can’t stop because a manager is at a full-day meeting.

“Not only does mobility allow companies to improve internal efficiencies and communications, it also enables them to interact more effectively with their increasingly mobile customers.”

The study also showed that corporate South Africa expects to embrace the new world of online services to an extent that was not even anticipated as recently as one year ago.

“Until last year, concepts like software as a service (Saas) and cloud computing were regarded as little more than buzzwords,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.

Yet, in the next 24 months, 84% of South African corporations expect to have a Saas strategy in place, and 60% expect to have adopted a cloud computing strategy.

“These aren’t technologies as such,” says Goldstuck. “They are strategies that make the organisation’s use of new technology more efficient. From storage systems to software deployment, from hardware upgrades to network capacity to bandwidth, the focus is on cost-effectiveness, flexibility and mobility.”

Among the technologies expected to take off as a result of the Saas and cloud computing revolution are:

* Fixed-mobile convergence, with 72% of companies expecting to adopt systems that allow seamless connectivity between fixed and mobile networks.
* Virtualisation, with 65% expected to embrace this flexible and cost-effective approach to network and server technology.
* Outsourced storage and archiving systems, with half of large South African companies predicting they will be using it in the next 24 months.

The combined effect of these technologies is that, while the organisation’s buildings and infrastructure may still be confined to a specific site, its people, activities, information, documentation and data have been freed from location.


“We are literally seeing the foundations being laid for the company of the future,” says Goldstuck.

Liebenberg adds: “Smartphones are now mainstream devices within South African businesses, but the smartphone revolution has only just begun. Enterprises should now be looking at what smartphones mean for their businesses in a more strategic and holistic fashion. They need to work towards mobilising their core internal and customer-facing processes so that their employees can use ubiquitous connectivity to be productive and responsive wherever they are.”

The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2010 forms part of the Mobility 2009 project, which included research among 1 000 consumers, 1 000 small and medium enterprisese and 240 large enterprises in South Africa.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, mobilemarketingwatch.com, apple.com, nokia,com, blackberry.com

South Africa needs to train more young scientists

Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor says South Africa needs to produce young scientists.

Speaking at the launch of Gauteng Science Week at the University of Pretoria on Monday, Pandor said public awareness about science, engineering and technology is her department’s key priority.

“South Africa needs to train young scientists and the best place to find them is in our schools. Promoting public awareness is also important.

“For the youth of today to become the scientists of tomorrow we need to foster awareness among learners of the various careers that are available in the world of science, engineering, technology and innovation,” she said.

Pandor believes that science centres have a crucial role to play not just in facilitating partnerships, but also in strengthening grass-roots science awareness campaigns.

“This is particularly important for provinces such as the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga that unlike Gauteng and the Western Cape who do not have the benefit of housing some of our country’s leading universities and research facilities,” she said.

She said the task of taking science to all corners of the country is a huge one that no single individual or organisation can carry out alone.

The minister said if the country is to sustain a national effort and achieve the desired results; the nation should deliberately forge quality strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, both within and outside the government innovation system.

“The cooperation between the University of Pretoria, the staff of the science centre, the South African Air Force, the Air Force Museum, students, parents and private companies involved in engineering and the servicing of jet fighters is a positive development from which we can all learn valuable lessons.

“The task of nurturing a passion for science, engineering and technology is huge,” she said.

National Science Week is an opportunity for young people to explore science, engineering and technology.

To help young people make informed study choices, the department distributes thousands of booklets on science, engineering and technology careers annually.

This year, Pandor said they will distribute 50 000, while a further 20 000 will be distributed during the National Science Week.

Source: BuaNews, cs4fn.org, campusaccess.com, allvoices.com, stu.edu, cnq.ca