Engineering https://news.nwu.ac.za/ en The NWU explores collaboration for agricultural engineering https://news.nwu.ac.za/nwu-explores-collaboration-agricultural-engineering <span>The NWU explores collaboration for agricultural engineering </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 02/16/2024 - 09:06</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The Enterprise African Regional Network (EARN) will continue to be a major factor in luring young people into the agricultural sector as it provides African entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills needed in the food-producing industries. On Monday, 5 February 2024, African Greeneurs from EARN conducted a visit to the Faculty of Engineering at the North-West University (NWU) to explore further collaboration on engineering research in agriculture.</p> <p>The NWU’s School of Industrial Engineering organised the visit and dignitaries from African Greeneurs were welcomed by Prof Rojanette Coetzee, associate professor and director of the Unit for Energy and Technology, and the manager of the postgraduate programme. Prof Henri Marais, who is the acting director of the School of Industrial Engineering, was also present during the visit.</p> <p>Two fourth-year Industrial Engineering students are currently doing their final-year projects at African Greeneurs. Sonique Nagel’s project focuses on developing the food-processing plant for EARN, while Mea Thiebaut is working on the worm-farm project. According to Sonique, the food-processing plant aims to produce various nutritious, affordable and accessible herb-based food products, and it leverages the health benefits of herbs such as moringa, lemon verbena and mint. Mea believes that the implementation of worm farming will not only increase production capacity, but it will also reduce organic waste, thereby enhancing the quality of the greenhouse farming at African Greeneurs. She further illustrates that addressing pressing issues such as global warming, waste management and food security is an inherent responsibility of engineers.</p> <p>Sonique says working at African Greeneurs is an enriching experience, as she can close the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. “The organisation fosters a secure and positive work environment, and my exposure includes interactions with local and international individuals and companies through collaborative efforts.” Mea adds: “I was warmly welcomed into the community, and I am quickly becoming part of the family. The team is incredibly friendly, and I am always keen on lending a helping hand.”</p> <p>The collaboration between the two parties will benefit the NWU Industrial Engineering researchers by giving them an opportunity to build networks in the real world.</p> <p><strong>More about EARN</strong></p> <p>EARN has developed ways to make agriculture exciting by ensuring that young people are placed in positions to promote gender equality while driving transformation in agriculture.</p> <p>They have a farm of 8,5 hectares in Centurion, where they grow fresh produce in tunnels and a shade netting house, and this is where EARN ensures the training and development of young agripreneurs.</p> <p>Another 100 hectares are located in Ekurhuleni, where cut flowers, mainly chrysanthemums and some lisianthus, are grown. In addition, EARN has fully equipped multi-span greenhouses covering six hectares under cultivation, and a packhouse.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/The%20African%20Greeneurs%20and%20NWU%20representatives.jpg" title="" /></p> <p style="margin:0 0 8pt 0;"><span style="color:black;font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;"><em>The representatives of NWU and African Greeneurs hoping for a future of cooperation</em>.</span></p> <p style="margin:0 0 8pt 0;"><span style="color:black;font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;"></span></p> </div> Fri, 16 Feb 2024 07:06:55 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29649 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Engineering professor wins best paper award https://news.nwu.ac.za/engineering-professor-wins-best-paper-award <span>Engineering professor wins best paper award</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Phenyo">Phenyo Mokgothu</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Wed, 01/31/2024 - 11:58</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Prof Jan de Kock from the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Engineering clinched the Best Paper Award at the recent Southern African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2024).</p> <p>The conference, jointly hosted by Stellenbosch University and the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE), serves as a premier regional platform bringing together industry experts, academics and students in the fields of engineering, computer science, and information technology.</p> <p>Prof De Kock's award-winning research paper, titled “Exploring the impact of inductive current transformers on harmonic emission measurements for South African grid code compliance”, takes a deep dive into revisions of the South African Grid Code for Renewable Power Plants.</p> <p>The focal point of the paper is the harmonic emissions component of the grid code, with a specific examination of the influence of inductive current transformers commonly utilised in outdoor substations on measurement accuracy.</p> <p>Delving into the nuances of inductive burden and harmonic current amplitude, the paper reveals crucial findings. Prof De Kock's research highlights an increased ratio error in measurements of lower current harmonic amplitudes, particularly those below 0.5 A. Moreover, the presence of inductive burdens connected to current transformers exacerbates this ratio error.</p> <p>The paper underscores the significance of quantifying burdens at each site, emphasising the need for accurate measurements when conducting analyses for grid code compliance.</p> <p>Commenting on his research, Prof De Kock emphasises the importance of quantifying burdens to compensate for errors, ultimately improving the precision of current harmonic measurements.</p> <p>The NWU community celebrates this notable accomplishment, looking forward to more advancements in the ever-evolving landscape of power engineering.</p> <p> </p> </div> Wed, 31 Jan 2024 09:58:21 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29606 at https://news.nwu.ac.za A shared vision ahead: an engagement that marks a new era of cooperation https://news.nwu.ac.za/shared-vision-ahead-engagement-marks-new-era-cooperation <span>A shared vision ahead: an engagement that marks a new era of cooperation</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 01/26/2024 - 12:09</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>On Monday, 18 December 2023 the North-West University (NWU) and the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) engaged in a discussion aimed at promoting collaboration and fostering a relationship that will benefit both parties.</p> <p>The meeting took place at the office of the of the vice-chancellor in Building F1 on the Potchefstroom Campus, with both parties agreeing on a commitment to signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a pre-agreed basis in February 2024.</p> <p>Prof Liezel van Dyk, the executive dean of the Faculty of Engineering, welcomed the guests on behalf of Prof Bismark Tyobeka, the NWU principal and vice-chancellor, and expressed her gratitude for the gathering. She said: “The NWU is delighted with this initiative, and the institution is looking forward to working will all role players in the mining industry.”</p> <p>In her support, Prof Awie Kotze, executive dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, expressed his desire for the NWU's work to have a significant worldwide influence.</p> <p>Fatheela Brovko, chief research operations officer at the MHSC, spoke on the focus areas of the organisation. She articulated that the MSCH aims to minimise the negative impact of mining activities on communities and to promote health and safety in the mining industry.</p> <p>“We want to strengthen our strategic collaborations by eliminating occupational diseases, focusing more on women in mining, and producing our research outputs in programmes for mine workers.”</p> <p><strong>Looking into the future</strong></p> <p>Prof Van Dyk stated that the NWU envisions opening a School of Mining shortly, alluding to Prof Bismark Tyobeka's inaugural address. She went on to state that the institution is currently developing mining programmes such as a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Sustainable Mining, which will be offered online in 2025. The additional programmes that will be available online in 2026 are a BSc in Environmental Science with Mining and Mining Engineering (including an MEng and PhD).</p> <p>Moreover, Prof Van Dyk emphasised that the NWU is set to launch an NQF 5 Higher Certificate in Industrial Automation (including specialisation in Mining) and will collaborate with the Faculty of Education in this regard. The aim of this scheme is to introduce high school learners to the mining sector, while equipping them with the required skills.</p> <p>Prof Awie Kotze reported that the NWU is at present working on plans to build a School of Nursing on the Vanderbijlpark Campus, with completion scheduled for July 2024. He said that the name of the School of Physiology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences would be changed to the School of Applied Health Sciences. The new name became effective on 1 January 2024.</p> <p><strong>After the discussion</strong></p> <p>Following the conversations there was an opportunity to engage even further. Mr Nkosinathi Tom, the director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Projects, directed a campus tour for the representatives of the MHSC to the following three faculties:</p> <p>· Faculty of Engineering (Building G10 – Hydrogen South Africa, HYSA)</p> <p>· Faculty of Health Sciences (buildings F10, G2 and G20)</p> <p>· Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (Building G23)</p> <p><em>In addition, the signing of the MOU will serve to establish a framework between the NWU and the MHSC on the following areas of common interest:</em></p> <p>· Mine health and safety projects</p> <p>· Capacity building</p> <p>· Skills development of students</p> <p>· Such other areas of mutual benefit as are pre-agreed upon by both parties</p> <p>The terms and conditions of each programme or activity, including any financial arrangement, will be set out in a written agreement to be signed by an authorised representative of each party.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Campus%20Tour.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>Mr Nkosinathi Tom, the director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Projects, leading the campus tour.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Environmental%20Sciences%20.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>Representatives from the MHSC receiving an overview of the Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management at Building G23A.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/HYSA.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>Delegates from both parties (the NWU and the MHSC) visited the Faculty of Engineering, Building G10 (Hydrogen South Africa) on the Potchefstroom Campus.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Group%20photo.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>A group photo with the MHSC delegates showcasing the gifts received from the NWU.</p> </div> Fri, 26 Jan 2024 10:09:21 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29601 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Academic represents NWU at Association of Energy Engineers conference https://news.nwu.ac.za/academic-represents-nwu-association-energy-engineers-conference <span>Academic represents NWU at Association of Energy Engineers conference</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Angeline">Angeline Marokoane</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Mon, 11/27/2023 - 12:41</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Professor in mechanical engineering Prof LJ Grobler represented the North-West University (NWU) at the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) World conference that took place from 25 to 27 October 2023 at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida.</p> <p>The AEE is an international non-profit membership association focusing on professional development in the energy sector. To help professionals working in the energy sector develop their skills, they offer a variety of training and certification programmes.</p> <p>Prof Grobler, an esteemed at-large member of the AEE, actively participated in the conference and chaired the international business meeting in his position as director for international membership development. During this meeting, the regional vice-presidents for the AEE regions across the world also gave feedback on professional certification development as well as chapter status updates.</p> <p>Attended by delegates from 64 countries, the conference brought together industry leaders and passionate individuals from around the world, all devoted to advancing the future of the energy industry towards sustainable, renewable, and cost-effective energy solutions.</p> <p>“The event served as a valuable platform for professionals, entrepreneurs, and curious minds to connect, learn, and take proactive measures,” says Prof Grobler. “The conference featured captivating keynote speeches, cutting-edge technology exhibits, and extensive networking opportunities, all aimed at unlocking a greener and more resilient world.”</p> <p><img alt="..." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/ProfGrobler-AEE-ICON%2BSTORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof LJ Grobler represented the NWU at the AEE World conference.</p> </div> Mon, 27 Nov 2023 10:41:23 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29553 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Meet our researchers https://news.nwu.ac.za/meet-our-researchers-0 <span>Meet our researchers</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/14/2023 - 11:21</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The faculties at the North-West University (NWU) are doing exciting work on the research front.</p> <p><strong>Prof Philimon Modisha</strong> is an associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and his research is centred on liquid organic hydrogen storage. His research is mostly at the Department of Science and Innovation Hydrogen South Africa Infrastructure Centre of Competence, co-hosted by the NWU and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C1zfI5qZ2d4?si=W3gXuWkum_nbjCEw" title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Dr Gontse Mokwatsi</strong> is a researcher in the Hypertension in Africa Research Team in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Her research focuses on monitoring night-time and morning blood pressure for the diagnosis and management of hypertension.</p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="314" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&amp;href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFacultyHealthSciencesNWU%2Fvideos%2F1158073134872772%2F&amp;show_text=false&amp;width=560&amp;t=0" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Zama Simamane</strong> is a lecturer and researcher in geography and environmental education. She is currently busy with a collaborative research project in which she is exploring ways to promote environmental justice competencies in teacher education. She is also involved in a research project that focuses on social justice and equality in geography education. She analyses teaching practices used in geography, determining how they enable or constrain equitable access in a diverse student body.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RUlSNeoLmXo?si=VjPr-PdZDCYILqrS" title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> Tue, 14 Nov 2023 09:21:26 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29508 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Xcel – opening closed doors in engineering https://news.nwu.ac.za/xcel-opening-closed-doors-engineering <span>Xcel – opening closed doors in engineering</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Willie">Willie du Plessis</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Mon, 11/06/2023 - 11:35</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A second chance to achieve better matric results may just be the key to a thriving career in engineering. Through the innovative Xcel programme, the North-West University (NWU) is giving talented matrics whose final results stand in the way of their dream to become engineers the opportunity to pursue their passion.</p> <p>Xcel allows students to repeat grades 11 and 12 by building new School-Based Assessment (SBA) portfolio marks - SBA being a portfolio of evidence that contributes to the final assessment in the matriculation examination. After completing the programme, students rewrite the National Senior Certificate exam in Mathematics and Physical Sciences under the supervision of the Department of Basic Education. If they receive better final marks, they may qualify for admission to engineering.</p> <p>The one-year full-time programme comprises basic education in Mathematics and Physical Sciences and higher education through Academic Literacy Development subjects (ALDE 111 and ALDE 121 in the second semester). Students also attend two skills-orientated courses in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Programming.</p> <p><strong>Life-changing and career-directing</strong></p> <p>The programme has introduced Lihle Vilakati to the many possibilities in the various fields of engineering. She joined this year and is close to completing the programme.</p> <p>“It has changed my life in so many ways. I was so discouraged when I did not do so well in maths and science in Grade 12 and out of frustration started investigating other career opportunities.” Her father read about the programme online and encouraged her to enrol.</p> <p>“It was a great decision. I believe it is taking me to where I want to be. I could address the problems I had with those subjects and greatly improve my marks. I even surprised myself by obtaining distinctions in some of the modules during the course of the programme.”</p> <p>Lihle is now looking forward to starting her first year as an NWU student in Computer Engineering in 2024.</p> <p><strong>Skill-developing and study-enriching</strong></p> <p>Boitomelo Matsobane is currently a fourth-year student in Mechanical Engineering. He says the Xcel programme, which he completed in 2018, equipped him with all the skills he needs to be successful in the field.</p> <p>“I always wanted to make a difference in communities. I grew up in the township where many of my family still live. One thing that always bothered me was the many garbage dumps and litter that dirty the area. I am determined to have an impactful career in engineering and that is why my research project is exploring the possibilities of converting waste into electricity. Without Xcel laying the groundwork, I would not have been able to pursue this.”</p> <p>Boitomelo is now well on his way towards realising his dream to be an engineer. “One of the greatest things about the Xcel programme is that it inspired me. It shaped me and taught me various skills that are crucial to the engineering field, such as thinking out of the box and effective time management, and trained me in using the right technology to achieve a specific task.”</p> <p><strong>Xcelling to project manager</strong></p> <p>“I have come such a long way from at first not being admitted to study Engineering to where I am now, working at the NWU in the field of computer and electronic engineering,” says JP van Deventer.</p> <p>After completing Xcel, JP obtained his Engineering degree in 2020, completed a master’s degree in 2022 and is currently enrolled for an MBA degree, while also being a full-time employee. He works as a project manager with the NWU’s engineering team on their Cybathlon projects.</p> <p>JP was part of the first cohort of Xcel students in 2016. “One of the most important impacts Xcel has had in my career is that it enabled me to surround myself with engineers and explore opportunities in the field. I am grateful that I could also share some of what I learned during the Xcel year,” says JP, who has also lectured and presented modules in the Xcel programme.</p> <p><strong>More about Xcel</strong></p> <p>“It is all about opening closed doors. There are many reasons why intelligent and talented school learners may acquire bad marks in crucial subjects. These include anything from exam fears, physical illness, depression and ineffective time management to external factors such as financial and domestic difficulties and inadequate education,” says Elza Hattingh, manager of the Xcel programme.</p> <p>“Xcel helps motivated students to bridge the gap between the minimum 40% end mark admission requirements for Mathematics and Physical Sciences to the 70% needed to be admitted to study Engineering.”</p> <p>Elza says she is very proud of the Xcel students and their achievements through the years. “We have seen wonderful examples of passionate and dedicated students who beat the odds to thrive in industry and academia.”</p> <p>Are you the right candidate for the Xcel programme? According to Elza, the most important traits of successful Xcel students are to be motivated, hard-working, disciplined and committed to attending all the classes.</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="https://engineering.nwu.ac.za/engineering/xcel-programme" target="_blank">Xcel-programme | engineering.nwu.ac.za</a>, or contact Sonette Becker on 018 299 1318.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Lihle.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>Lihle Vilakati is currently completing the Xcel programme. “It is a wonderful opportunity to meet interesting people and become part of the engineering community.”</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Boitumelo.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>Boitomelo Matsobane is a fourth-year student in Mechanical Engineering. He believes the Xcel programme, which he completed in 2018, equipped him with all the skills he needed to successfully pursue a career in the field. “It was a period of 10 months during which my life was completely transformed.”</p> <p><img alt="..." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/JP.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>JP van Deventer says what makes the Xcel programme unique is that it introduces learners to university life before starting their official studies. “It helps you to gradually prepare for all the challenges of being a student while teaching you how to cope and excel in your academic career.”</p> <p><img alt="..." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Elza.JPG" title="" /></p> <p>Elza Hattingh is an expert in the field of university admissions. She conceptualised and compiled the Xcel programme. “It has had a great impact on the future of many talented engineers who might not have been able to pursue their careers without the opportunities it created.”</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> </div> Mon, 06 Nov 2023 09:35:07 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29487 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Is it still ethical to conduct coal research in South Africa? https://news.nwu.ac.za/it-still-ethical-conduct-coal-research-south-africa <span>Is it still ethical to conduct coal research in South Africa? </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Bertie">Bertie Jacobs</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/02/2023 - 14:30</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>As the debate on the effect of fossil fuels on climate change rages on, questions regarding the use of fossils fuels as a major part of the country’s energy-producing package are hotly disputed. Now, Prof Marco le Roux of the Faculty of Engineering at the North-West University (NWU) asks: Is it still ethical to conduct coal research in South Africa?</p> <p>Le Roux, who serves as the NWU’s director for the Centre for Engineering Education, explains that – according to the International Energy Agency – just more than 80% of the world’s energy is supplied by fossil fuels, with coal contributing 26,8%. This number increases to just below 40% for electricity generation in particular. He further states that this contribution by coal has remained constant since 1971, when coal was responsible for 26,1% of the global energy mix. However, considering that the total energy demand worldwide has increased by 260% since then, the nominal contribution of coal has skyrocketed. So too have the emissions relating to this energy source.</p> <p>“It is undeniable that fossil fuels have made a negative contribution towards the sustainability of the global environment, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and hence global warming,” says Le Roux.</p> <p>Let us take a look at the picture painted by South Africa’s energy woes.</p> <p>“The current energy landscape in South Africa is in a dire state, resulting in the president’s call for a state of disaster on 9 February 2023, while appointing a Minister of Electricity to help salvage a crippled electricity supplier. However, because of legal challenges, the state of disaster was revoked in April on the back of corruption fears. This has left the country in turmoil, with electricity blackouts, or load-shedding, every day in 2023 until recently. Currently, just over 70% of South Africa’s total energy consumption is supplied by coal. There is a slight emergence of renewable energy sources, but fossil fuels are still dominant, led by coal, which has hovered at between 70% and 80% of our total energy supply since 1965,” he continues.</p> <p>“The rate of transition towards renewable energy sources remains low, hence the dominance of fossil fuels in this sector. Keeping in mind that South Africa has a scarcity of crude oil deposits and imports almost 90% of all its crude oil from mainly Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, the dependence on coal becomes worrying. This situation is worse when we focus on electricity generation, as it was reported that 80,1% of South Africa’s 2022 electricity supply had been generated by coal-fired power stations.”</p> <p>Although renewable energy resources must increasingly form part of the answer to South Africa’s energy problems, coal remains a big part of the equation.</p> <p>According to Le Roux, China currently dominates coal research output, having overtaken the USA in around 2004. For countries such as the USA, coal research has declined, but BRICS countries such as China, India and Russia have shown a definite increase in research outputs.</p> <p>“South Africa, although it is a bit more erratic, does follow the BRICS trend, showing an increase in coal-related research outputs for the past two decades.”</p> <p>Predictions show that South Africa will still be dependent on coal for base-load electricity beyond 2050. For this reason, it remains the responsibility of experts to continue with research to optimise coal usage, minimise emissions and rehabilitate used sites.</p> <p>“The world, and especially developing countries like South Africa, is not going to be without fossil fuels in the foreseeable future. Even though the Just Energy Transition is a reality and an admirable goal, having a stable energy base load is critical for any country. It is within this framework that the development and optimisation of the use of fossil fuels must take priority. It will inevitably lead to carbon neutrality by eliminating carbon emissions and optimal use of this finite resource.</p> <p>“For South Africa, the fossil fuel in use will be coal because of the large deposits available. Working towards process optimisation across the coal value chain, the reduction and elimination of water in coal processing plants, emissions control coupled with carbon capture and storage, sustainable rehabilitation of land and the redeployment of the current work force will undoubtedly contribute to a secure future for the generations to come. Within this context, without harming social progress, coal research remains integral and a valuable contributor to help reach the goals of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that were adopted by 196 parties and came into effect in 2016.”</p> <p>*The North-West University, through its various endeavours, is committed to helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the betterment of society as a whole.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Marco%20LeRoux_1.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof Marco le Roux</p> </div> Thu, 02 Nov 2023 12:30:09 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29484 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Engineers on track to take local innovations to Cybathlon in Switzerland https://news.nwu.ac.za/engineers-track-take-local-innovations-cybathlon-switzerland <span>Engineers on track to take local innovations to Cybathlon in Switzerland</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Willie">Willie du Plessis</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/28/2023 - 11:38</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Zürich 2024, here we come, complete with a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg and wheelchair.</p> <p>Headed by the formidable North-West University (NWU) team of Prof André Grobler and Ian Thomson from the Faculty of Engineering and Dr Mark Kramer from Health Sciences, the innovators are preparing to take the fruits of their research and designs in digital health to the international stage.</p> <p>They will be competing at the 2024 Cybathlon competition* in Switzerland. This competition, in the form of a gruelling race, will take place in Kloten near Zürich in October next year.</p> <p>The multidisciplinary team comprises dedicated students from diverse backgrounds who share the common goal of developing a cutting-edge prosthetic leg and wheelchair for the race. Through their participation they will not only showcase their innovations, but also promote inclusivity for people with disabilities.</p> <p>“We are busy designing devices that are efficient, user-friendly and able to withstand the rigorous demands of the competition,” says Prof Grobler. “We believe our designs have the potential to transform the lives of those living with mobility impairments, not only locally and in Africa, but also internationally. Designing life-changing innovations is a team effort. In this regard we cherish our collaboration with the Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec) research focus area at Health Sciences, especially with regard to the contribution relating to the biomechanical aspects of movement provided by Dr Kramer.”</p> <p><strong>Walking the talk and rolling towards success</strong></p> <p>The team has put a lot of work into the development of the prosthetic leg. This is currently in progress and involves various projects.</p> <p>These projects are focused on the socket, knee, ankle and foot respectively. Ian says they are using 3D printing for the socket, which is the part of the prosthesis that fits onto the stump of an amputated limb.</p> <p>He describes the knee as the brain of the prosthesis and the most difficult part to design. The knee should be able to carry the competitor quickly and easily over obstacles, which is crucial if they hope to be competitive during the race.</p> <p>The ankle is designed to simulate natural ankle movement and adjusts according to the terrain. Blade designs are used for the foot, with additional projects focusing on electronics, fittings and swivels for the prosthesis.</p> <p>There are two versions of the new wheelchair.</p> <p>The first is a 4X4-type wheelchair that is able to function on even the most challenging surfaces. The second is a wheelchair that opens doors with the aid of a robotic arm, climbs steps with a sickle-type design on its wheels, and even navigates.</p> <p><strong>It started a while ago …</strong></p> <p>Prof Grobler says they are building on the work and innovations of Prof Leenta Grobler, who laid the groundwork before the Covid-19 pandemic. She has since left the faculty and joined the NWU Business School.</p> <p>Ian used to be one of her master’s-degree students. At the time, he worked on one of the innovations – a knee-function-monitoring device – which inspired him to focus on other innovations in the rehabilitation environment.</p> <p>Having lost his leg in a motorbike accident when he was 16, he knows the challenges people with disabilities face on a daily basis. Together with the NWU’s Cybathlon team, he is developing a powered prosthesis that is an affordable and life-changing innovation for anyone who has to wear a prosthesis.</p> <p><strong>To Cybathlon 2024 and beyond</strong></p> <p>Both Prof Grobler and Ian are very excited about the future of digital health technologies. “We aim to produce innovations that are geared towards solving actual challenges at a fraction of the cost of the products that are currently available,” says Prof Grobler.</p> <p>What makes their innovations even more remarkable is that they are created with basic equipment. “We do not have access to all the state-of-the-art resources that are available overseas. This has taught us to innovate in such a way that we can rival other designs effectively.”</p> <p>Ian says persons living with disabilities are involved in the testing of the innovations. “As they will be the end-users, the designs must be effective in addressing their needs and improving their quality of life.”</p> <p>Although preparing for Cybathlon 2024 is currently the NWU team’s priority, they have already started planning and identifying projects for subsequent Cybathlons.</p> <p>“Watch this space, there are more groundbreaking innovations on the way,” says Prof Grobler.</p> <p><em>*The Cybathlon is a unique international competition that brings together people with disabilities, engineers and scientists to develop and test the latest assistive technologies. </em></p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Profs-cybathlon-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof André Grobler and Ian Thomson are excited to participate in the next Cybathlon. “The NWU’s multidisciplinary team is taking up the challenge to place the NWU at the forefront of digital health solutions,” says Prof Grobler.</p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/Prototype-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>One of the designs that is currently being developed by the team.</p> <p> </p> </div> Thu, 28 Sep 2023 09:38:26 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29348 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Engineering student scoops first prize in optimisation modeling competition https://news.nwu.ac.za/engineering-student-scoops-first-prize-optimisation-modeling-competition <span>Engineering student scoops first prize in optimisation modeling competition</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Phenyo">Phenyo Mokgothu</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/22/2023 - 08:29</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hendrik Snyman, a fourth-year industrial engineering student at the North-West University (NWU), emerged as the victor in the recent Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA*) optimisation modeling competition.</p> <p>The competition, which took place during the tutorial session of this year's 52nd annual ORSSA conference, presented an exciting opportunity for attendees to showcase their optimisation modeling skills. Prof Fanie Terblanche from Elytica presented the competition, and also sponsored the first-place cash prize of R3 500.</p> <p>Participants were tasked with a complex problem: they had to optimise the connection of a fibre network at the lowest possible cost. To tackle this, contestants had to develop a mathematical model using the flow conservation modeling approach.</p> <p>Hendrik says this competition was an invaluable opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills he had gained during his academic journey. He used the Elytica platform to create his mathematical model and used Python for the coding. The model's output was a cost analysis associated with connecting a network of houses to a distribution centre within the network.</p> <p>*The Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA) serves as the national professional body dedicated to advancing the interests of those involved in operations research activities.</p> <p><img alt="Hendrik Snyman" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Institutional%20News/Hendrik%20Snyman-STORY%2BICON.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof Fanie Terblanche from Elytica congratulates NWU student Hendrik Snyman on winning the ORSSA optimisation modeling competition.</p> </div> Fri, 22 Sep 2023 06:29:13 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29318 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Prof LJ Grobler: An engineer with purpose https://news.nwu.ac.za/prof-lj-grobler-engineer-purpose <span>Prof LJ Grobler: An engineer with purpose</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Angeline">Angeline Marokoane</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/05/2023 - 08:50</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Prof LJ Grobler, a professor in mechanical engineering at the North-West University (NWU), is a man with determination. His CV and numerous engineering accomplishments reveal his dynamism.</p> <p>He has come a long way – from growing up in the beautiful farmlands of Ermelo in Mpumalanga – to sitting in international boardrooms and sharing his expertise to make an impact in the field of renewable energy.</p> <p>Prof Grobler, who is passionate about mechanical engineering, is an at-large member of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), an international non-profit membership association.</p> <p>The AEE focuses on professional development in the energy sector, and offers a variety of training and certification programmes to help professionals in this sector to develop their skills. It strives to establish a credible industry from a professional standpoint by regulating professionals through certification programmes to that assess the quality of people in the industry and determine whether they are competent.</p> <p>Prof Grobler says he did his first certified energy management course in 1997, which was then presented by the late Prof Barney Capeheart and Wayne Turner.</p> <p>“I was fortunate to attend their training. In my opinion, these two experts contributed greatly to the establishment of energy management in America,” he says.</p> <p>Before becoming president of the AEE, he served a term as secretariat to learn the ropes. Following four years on the board of directors, he became president-elect in 2006 and president in 2007 – the first non-American president of the AEE.</p> <p>After completing his term successfully, the AEE requested Prof Grobler to serve another four-year term on the board.</p> <p>“Since there have been some changes to how the board is constructed, they were looking for three international ex-board members and past presidents to return and assist them with strategic planning. That is why I am now on a four-year term as an at-large board member, which means I have been co-opted to serve on the board for another four years,” he says.</p> <p>“The AEE is now a global family focused on energy management – it operates on every continent and its programmes and certifications are offered in eight languages,” adds Prof Grobler.</p> <p>He explains that his role as board member is to actively seeks collaboration opportunities with fellow researchers, industry experts and policymakers to solve complex engineering and renewable energy challenges.</p> <p>Looking towards the future, Prof Grobler remains committed to pushing the boundaries of engineering and renewable energy. His goal is to continue driving innovation and finding sustainable solutions to address the world's energy needs.</p> <p>His legacy will undoubtedly inspire future generations of engineers to embrace the power of renewable energy and work towards building a better world for all.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Institutional%20News/Prof%20LJ%20Grobler-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Prof LJ Grobler is passionate about engineering.</p> </div> Tue, 05 Sep 2023 06:50:58 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29275 at https://news.nwu.ac.za