A project of the Eskom WESSA Energy and Sustainability Programme has received first prize at the 2015 African Energy Awards. The energy efficiency project of Tonga View Primary School in Kwalugedlane, Mpumalanga, scooped the award in the category of African Energy Innovation Prize for their Syngas Stove Project.
The African Energy Awards recognise outstanding achievements in the energy research and technology space in Africa. Now in their eighth year, the awards were announced at a gala event held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 24 March.
Wood is used daily by more than 400 schools in Mpumalanga to cook meals for learners. In 2014 a group of learners from Tonga View, together with their educator Zodwa Lubisi, identified that the school’s practice of using wood fuel produced unhealthy emissions and was energy inefficient. The learners decided to address the issue within the “active learning project” component of the WESSA Energy and Sustainability Programme, and developed the Syngas Stove as the solution to this resource use challenge. The stove is a double-barrelled metal chamber with strategically placed air vents to allow for natural convection airflow which promotes high heated combustion and a secondary ignition of syngas.
The African Energy Innovation Prize is a new awards category for 2015 and was created to recognise that the dramatically increasing energy demands across the world are pushing futurists and disruptors to deliver new, practical energy solutions and innovations. At the gala event African Energy Awards were also presented in the categories of African Energy Leader of the Year, Premier Energy Project of the Year and Small Medium Energy Company of the Year.
As stipulated by the competition judges, 30% of the USD30,000 prize money will be invested into an education trust to assist the learners in furthering their tertiary education, while 50% will go towards the innovation and development of the school project into a business, and the remaining 20% will be used for community or education development.
The Eskom WESSA Energy and Sustainability Programme is a successful corporate/NGO partnership programme between Eskom and WESSA that provides education for sustainable development and supports Active Learning Sustainability Projects for young people. The programme, now in its 18th year, involves more than 149,000 students and is implemented across the country. Regional co-ordinators support school learners, educators and communities in the promotion of sustainable lifestyles and resource use through contextual energy learning.
The Eskom WESSA Energy and Sustainability Programme encourages learner education in the form of active learning projects. Learners are encouraged to identify contextual environmental issues, research, plan, take action, monitor and evaluate their projects. It is these action projects which have won the programme many national and international awards, including an eta award in 2014 in the Young Designers category.