CENTRE FOR RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY STUDIES

LIST OF COMPLETED PROJECTS

CRSES has a team of competent engineers and project managers who can assist clients with on- and off-grid renewable energy solutions. The dynamic group includes engineering expertise in the following disciplines: Mechanical, Mechatronic, Electrical, Process and Civil. The Centre is also well positioned to assemble expertise from the broader University community and private industry to participate in multidisciplinary projects. The past projects are listed under each year below:

INVESTIGATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE BOSCHBERG DEVELOPMENT NODE

Client: Blue Crane Development Agency

Scope: A feasibility study was completed to determine the possibility of powering a new 473 house development, including amenities from renewable energy. All options were investigated and included; solar (thermal and PV), wind, hydro and bio-energy as well as diesel and pump storage.

Main Conclusions: A model was developed to determine the average and peak electricity demand. There are excellent opportunities; the two in particular are the 4 MW hydro scheme with a 92% capacity factor and a 4 MW wind farm with a 44% capacity factor. These are however located approximately 22 km from the development site. The best on site solution is that of biomass gasification grown on nearby land. A pump storage system is feasible, but a diesel generator still works out to be the cheapest form of backup.

Continuation: Training course on renewable energy and ongoing interaction with the agency.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTRE OF COMPETENCE IN SOLAR ENERGY AND SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP

Client: CSIR who contracted to the Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Scope: The project had four components: Baseline Study; Technology Roadmap; Technology Feasibility Study; Business Plan Development. CRSES made inputs to all four components taking the lead in the Technology Roadmap (Prof Alan Brent) and the Business Plan Development (Prof Wikus van Niekerk).

Main Conclusions: Four research focus areas were identified: Solar Resource Assessment; CSP Technology; PV Characterisation and Testing and Solar Heating and Cooling for Industry. A model for a Solar Energy Centre of Competence was developed and presented to the DST.

Continuation: The project reports have been delivered to the DST who needs to make the funding decision.

ASSESSMENT OF PYROLYSIS TECHNOLOGY FOR ENERGY AND BIOCHAR PRODUCTION

Client: MBB Consulting Services; Thermex Carbon Technologies

Scope: Conduct a technology review and energy balance calculation on fast pyrolysis system installed in Johannesburg with different feedstocks.

Main Conclusions: Due to inadequate instrumentation and available data only preliminary results are available at this stage.

SOLAR RESOURCE DATA MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS: EXXARO

Client: EXXARO

Scope: To measure and assess the solar resource at a site specified by the client. A complete service is provided including the acquisition, installation and commissioning of the measuring equipment; downloading the data and verifying the integrity thereof; comparing the measured data with satellite derived data; liaising with an international service provider (DLR) to verify the results.

Main Conclusions: Project is still underway.

FEASIBILITY STUDY OF A WAVE ENERGY CONVERTOR

Client: Azuraclox (Pty) Ltd

Scope: The objective of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of a novel wave energy conversion device in a desktop study. The desktop study included the optimisation of the device configuration and its power take-off system, an assessment of the available wave energy resource in South Africa, an economic assessment of the device, highlighting environmental concerns and providing recommendations for further development

Main Conclusions: In its current format the proposed system are too expensive for the amount of power delivered. The concept should not be developed further.

EXPERT SUPPORT ON STUDY TO “ASSESS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE NATIONAL SOLAR AND WINDER ENERGY POLICIES, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL POLICY ROADMAPS”

Client: Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town (with their client UNEP)

Scope: Review the technical report of the ERC and verify their conclusions.

SEARENEWABLE ENERGY TURBINES

Client: Sea Renewable Energy (Pty) Ltd (Mr S Oldfield)

Scope: The objective of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of a novel ocean current energy conversion device in a desktop study. The desktop study included the optimisation of the device configuration and its power take-off system, an assessment of the available ocean current energy resource in South Africa, an economic assessment of the device, highlighting environmental concerns and providing recommendations for further development

Main Conclusions: The device may be able to produce electricity at a cost within the band of the current REFITs. The initial design was however to complex so a simpler design was suggested. Three models where built; 1) a turbine model to simulate the drag, 2) a blade model to predict blade and hub costs and 3) a financial model to determine the feasibility of a 100 MW tidal farm. The conclusion was drawn that this type of project carries a high technical risk due to unproven technology and harsh conditions in the sea as well as the financial feasibility being borderline.

Continuation: Discussions with the client is ongoing and an application to the Innovation Fund may be lodged.

AQUAPANEL

Client: Gerrie Mostert

Scope: The objective of this project was to perform a thermal test of the Aqua Panel solar water heater and determine its efficiency. The Aqua Panel solar water heater (SWH) is an affordable system that is aimed at the low income market, typically rural or farm communities who do not have traditional geysers. The Aqua Panel is a 40 l system, consisting of an insulated 20 l storage tank and 20 l stored in the collector. The reason the water in the collector can be used is because the water enters at its base. The system is constructed from polyethylene pipe, galvanised steel frame and an insulated polyethylene container.

Main Conclusions: The Aqua Panel delivered heated water to an acceptable temperature of 55 °C, but the The draw off profile tapers off quickly due to 40 l tank. The tests revealed that the system is to a large extent influenced by the surrounding temperatures. The highest temperature was reached on the day with the lowest radiation, and vice versa. The maximum temperature reached was 55 °C, 59 °C and 63 °C, in days 1, 2 and 3 respectively. It is expected that the performance in winter will thus be reduced due to the colder ambient conditions.

The overnight heat loss test determined that the system lost just over 10 °C during the 14 h period. This is the combined loss from the panel and the collector, with and an average ambient temperature of 24 °C. The heat loss in the tank was minimal at 3 °C which is where the water would be drawn from. Since winter performance is a critical to the user, it is highly recommended that the collector panel and piping is insulated. This would result in a very neat low cost system that also performs during winter.

Continuation: None

ISOLAR

Client: Greg Brown

Scope: The objective of this project was to perform a thermal test of the Isolar solar water heater (SWH) and determine its efficiency. The Isolar SWH is a direct, low pressure, closed coupled, evacuated tube system.

Main Conclusions: The Isolar SWH was thermally tested, as well as an overnight heat loss test. The tests were executed on the solar roof at Stellenbosch University. The maximum temperature reached during the water draw off was 43 °C, 42 °C and 56 °C, in days 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The higher water temperature on the last day is to be expected due to higher solar radiation, as well as the higher ambient temperatures and lower wind speeds (limits convection losses).

The overnight heat loss test determined that the system lost just over 10 °C during the 15 h period, the initial tank temperature was 49.7 °C. The system lost approximately 3.8 MJ while the outside temperature was on average 9.2 °C.

It should be noted that the system was tested during the month of July, which is a cold month in the Western Cape. The performance of the system is expected to increase during the summer months.

Continuation: None

GET (GLOBAL ENGINEERING TEAMS)

Client: Technical University of Berlin

Scope: Oversee four students in the design and development of a low cost solar water heater.

Main Conclusions: They successfully designed a low cost solar water heater and built a business plan.

Continuation: None

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